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South Africa Posts Biggest Trade Surplus in 6 Months on Metals

July 29 (Bloomberg) -- South Africa posted a trade surplus of 4.9 billion rand ($725 million) in June, the biggest in six months, as it earned more from exports of gold, platinum, iron ore and coal.

The surplus compared with a deficit of 1 billion rand in May, the Pretoria-based South African Revenue Service said in an e-mailed statement today. The median estimate of 12 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 1 billion-rand surplus.

“Gold and platinum accounted for the bulk of the jump,” Andrew Fisher, an executive at the revenue service, said by phone today. “Iron ore also fetched good prices.”

Exports increased 7.5 percent to 60.6 billion rand in June from the previous month as shipments of precious and semi-precious stones and metals jumped by 2.1 billion rand, or 14 percent, the revenue service said. Mineral product exports advanced 7 percent in the month, while vegetable product exports rallied 39 percent.

Imports fell 2.9 percent to 55.7 billion rand in the period, mainly due to a decline in mineral products and vehicles, it said.

Trade figures are often volatile, reflecting the timing of shipments of commodities such as oil and diamonds.

To contact the reporter on this story: Franz Wild in Johannesburg at fwild@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net.

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