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Africa, Forex

South Africa’s current account surplus widens in first quarter

JOHANNESBURG, June 10 (Reuters) – South Africa’s current account surplus widened to 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter, from 3.7% in the final quarter of 2020, bouyed by a larger trade surplus and narrower income deficit, central bank data showed on Thursday.

The surplus was equivalent to 267.3 billion rand ($19.54 billion), compared with 197.8 billion rand previously.

“South Africa’s exports and imports of goods increased further in the first quarter of 2021, consistent with the continued recovery in global and domestic economic activity,” the South African Reserve Bank said in a statement.

The trade surplus widened to 430.5 billion rand in the first three months of 2021 from 425.2 billion rand in the previous quarter, as the value of merchandise exports rose to a new all-time high while the value of imports rose to a lesser extent, the central bank said.

Data on Tuesday showed South Africa’s economy expanded more than expected in the first quarter — growing by 4.6% on an annualised basis — although at a slower rate compared with the last quarter of 2020.

The deficit on the services, income and current transfer account narrowed to 3.1% of GDP in the quarter, from 4.2% in the prior quarter, the bank said. ($1 = 13.6799 rand) (Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo)

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