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S. Africa Posts Trade Surplus in December

S. Africa Posts Trade Surplus in DecemberS. Africa Posts Trade Surplus in December

South Africa recorded a larger-than-expected surplus in December, largely due to a sharp fall in imports as the continent’s most industrialized country continued to see subdued consumer and business confidence, Reuters reported. The trade surplus stood at $894 million, way above market expectations of a six billion rand ($446 million) surplus, data from the revenue agency showed on Tuesday. The data showed imports had fallen nearly 20% to 19.75 billion rand in the month. Imports of equipment components fell the most, by 53%, followed by clothing and toys, as well as textiles, which decreased 45% and 38% respectively. Economist at Investec Kamilla Kaplan said the surplus was unsurprising given the low levels of growth in an economy where businesses and people were spending less money. Consumer confidence slipped deeper into negative territory in the fourth quarter of 2016, while fixed investments by companies decreased for a fourth consecutive quarter in the same period as private businesses in particular cut down on spending.

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