South Africa’s trade account unexpectedly swung to a surplus in August as exports of vehicles advanced and imports of mineral products declined.
The ZAR 8.8 billion ($620 million) positive balance compares with July’s revised ZAR 5.3 billion deficit, Pretoria-based South African Revenue Service said in an emailed statement Friday. The median estimate of seven economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a ZAR 1.8 billion-rand shortfall. The surplus was ZAR 6.8 billion a year earlier.
A smaller trade deficit eases pressure on the currency of Africa’s most industrialised economy and on its current account, the broadest gauge of traded goods and services. The rand has weakened more than 12 per cent this year, battering investor confidence and raising the cost of imports. The currency has lost all gains that came as President Cyril Ramaphosa rose to power after being elected as leader of the ruling African National Congress in December and subsequently the country.