SA records trade surplus in Dec

Pretoria- South Africa recorded a trade surplus of R4.7 billion in December 2011, says the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

The data comes after a deficit of R8 billion was recorded in November.

December's surplus was due to a month-on-month eight percent decrease in exports and a 24 percent decrease in imports.

Exports decreased by R5.5 billion to R63 billion while imports decreased by R18.2 billion to R58.3 billion.

"The trade surplus of R4.7 billion in December 2011 was mainly due to a decrease in imports of products of chemical or allied industries, original equipment components, mineral products and machinery and electrical appliances," said SARS on Tuesday.

Standard Bank said despite the positive surplus on the trade balance, the data did not change their interest rate view.

"We expect growth to slow even further this year and we believe that the Reserve Bank will keep the repo rate on hold this year. Barring a disorderly unwinding of the Eurozone debt crisis, evidence of a struggling economy will not necessarily be enough to outweigh the rapidly mounting domestic inflation pressures," said the bank.

The cumulative deficit for 2011 was R15.1 billion compared to a cumulative surplus of R4.8 billion in 2010.