JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Increased exports and weaker imports narrowed South Africa’s trade deficit to 7.8 billion rand ($860 million) in March, down from 9.5 billion the previous month the revenue authority said Tuesday.
Exports — including mineral products and base metals — increased by 2.9 percent, while imports were down by 0.3 percent.
Nedbank analysts described the figures as volatile.
“Today’s better than expected trade numbers should help to ease some pressure on the current account for the first quarter, which could help the rand at least in the short term,” they said in a statement.
“Export performance is likely to remain weak in the months ahead this year as global demand conditions remain unfavourable and commodity prices are depressed.”
South Africa’s economy has been hit by ripple effects of the eurozone slowdown, with authorities predicting modest 2.7 percent growth for 2013.