The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has registered a trade balance surplus of R6.70 billion. The 2016 year-to-date deficit of R9.95 billion is an improvement on the deficit for the comparable period in 2015 of R37.19 billion. These statistics include trade data with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland (BLNS).
In line with international statistical best practice, the Trade Statistics published by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) are subject to revisions as new information becomes available on an ongoing basis. The February 2016 to July 2016 export figures have been adjusted by R23.9 billion resulting in the year- to- date trade balance being revised downwards from a R7.41 billion trade surplus published in August 2016 to a R9.95 billion trade deficit in September 2016.
The R23.9 billion adjustment is as a result of revisions to the gold exports by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) which supplies the gold export data to SARS. These gold revisions (for the first half of 2016) have been disclosed by SARB in the September 2016 Quarterly Bulletin. The revisions relate mainly to adjustments made for gold that was moved to facilities outside South Africa but with ownership of the gold retained by South African entities.
Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland trade data
The R6.70 billion trade balance surplus for September 2016 is attributable to exports of R98.92 billion and imports of R92.22 billion. Exports for the year-to-date (01 January to 30 September) grew by 5.8% from R770.20 billion in 2015 to R815.24 billion in 2016. Imports for the year-to-date of R825.19 billion are 2.2% more than the imports recorded in January to September 2015 of R807.39 billion.
On a year-on-year basis, September 2016’s R6.70 billion trade balance surplus is an improvement from the deficit recorded in September 2015 of R2.20 billion. Exports of R98.92 billion are 8.8% more than the exports recorded in September 2015 of R90.93 billion. Imports of R92.22 billion are 1.0% less than the imports recorded in September 2015 of R93.13 billion.
August 2016’s trade balance deficit was revised upwards by R0.32 billion from the previous month’s preliminary deficit of R8.56 billion to a revised deficit of R8.88 billion as a result of ongoing Vouchers of Correction (VOC’s). Exports increased from August 2016 to September 2016 by R9.05 billion (10.1%) and imports decreased from August 2016 to September 2016 by R6.53 billion (6.6%).