World Economy

S. Africa C/A Deficit Shrinks

S. Africa C/A Deficit ShrinksS. Africa C/A Deficit Shrinks

South Africa’s current-account deficit narrowed more than economists estimated in the first quarter as a decline in dividend payments to foreign investors offset a slump in exports, Bloomberg reported. The gap on the current account, the broadest measure of trade in goods and services, eased to 4.8% of gross domestic product from 5.1% in the previous three months, the Reserve Bank said in its Quarterly Bulletin released on Tuesday in the capital, Pretoria. The current-account deficit has been a source of weakness for the rand and the improvement last quarter may help to underpin the currency after it depreciated 4.8% against the dollar this year. Exports remain under pressure, undermining manufacturing and mining. Exports, excluding gold, fell 2.3% to an annualized 937 billion rand ($77 billion) in the three months through March, while imports rose 1%, according to the report. Import demand climbed as consumer spending improved, expanding 2.8% in the first quarter from 1.6% in the previous three months, the bank said.