• Exports of mineral products, base metals increase during month
  • Imports of vehicles, transport equipment, textiles decline

South Africa posted a trade surplus in March as exports of mineral products and base metals surged while imports of vehicles, transport equipment and textiles declined.

The trade balance swung to a surplus of 2.9 billion rand ($205 million) from a revised deficit of 1.3 billion rand in February, the Pretoria-based South African Revenue Service said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. The median of seven economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg was for a gap of 1.9 billion rand.

Exports rose 6.3 percent to 96.1 billion rand in March from the previous month, led by a 17 percent surge mineral products, an increase of 11 percent in base metals and a 5.9 percent rise in metals and precious stones.

Imports increased by 1.6 percent to 93.2 billion rand as purchases of vehicles and transport equipment fell 22 percent and textile imports declined 24 percent.

The rand strengthened for a second day, gaining 0.9 percent to 14.1676 per dollar as of 2:48 p.m. in Johannesburg.

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

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