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Trade surplus at record R18.7bn in May

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South Africa recorded the biggest trade surplus since at the least 1996 in May as imports of machinery and oil fell and also the exports of silver and gold coins and stones surged.

The trade surplus widened to R18.7 billion ($1.26 billion) with a revised deficit of R130 million in April, the Pretoria-based South African Revenue Service said within the e-mailed statement on Thursday.?The median of ten?economist estimates authored by Bloomberg was to get a surplus of R4.1 billion.

Africa’s most-industrialised economy contracted 1.2% while in the first quarter as falling metal prices, the worst drought in many than only a century and weak demand through the nation’s main export markets weigh on output, as the rand lost 22%?of its value against the dollar ever since the oncoming of 2015. The deficit within the current account, the broadest measure of exchange merchandise, widened to 5% in the with three months through March, keeping some pressure about the currency.

“From a short-term perspective the evidence of re-balancing throughout the economy is supportive of the currency,”? Carmen Nel, an economist at FirstRand’s investment banking unit, said by telephone from Cape Town before the release of the results.

Exports rose by 14% to R104.7 billion and imports slumped by 6.6% to R86 billion.

Monthly trade figures tend to be volatile, reflecting the timing of shipments of commodities such as oil and diamonds.

? 2016 Bloomberg

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