World Economy

S. Africa Trade Surplus Shrinks

S. Africa Trade Surplus ShrinksS. Africa Trade Surplus Shrinks

South Africa’s trade surplus shrank in July as the exports of precious metals and stones, which include gold and diamonds, fell. The surplus decreased to 5.2 billion rand ($354.3 million) from 12.5 billion rand in June, the Pretoria-based South African Revenue Service said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday. The median of nine economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg was for a surplus of 8 billion rand. The rand’s 27% drop against the dollar in 2015 has boosted exports, even as demand in South Africa’s largest trading partners was subdued. Low metal prices and the worst drought in more than a century have weighed on Africa’s most-industrialized economy, which will probably not grow at all this year, according to the central bank. The cumulative surplus for 2016 is 17.4 billion rand compared with a deficit of 24.7 billion rand in the same period last year, the revenue agency said. The surplus may help narrow the shortfall on the current account, which swelled to 5% of gross domestic product in the three months through March.