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JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s trade surplus widened more than expected to R12billion ($915million) as exports in precious, base metal and vehicle parts jumped, easing pressure on the economy and lifting the currency. 

Africa’s most industrialised country ran a large current account deficit of 4.8percent of GDP in the first quarter, and in the absence of the economic growth that normally draws fixed investments is heavily reliant on more volatile portfolio flows. 

Analysts said the large surplus was a sign that the current account was narrowing, which would lessen the impact of any reversal of portfolio flows. “This is the fourth month in row of surpluses so it will definitely reduce the current account deficit in the second quarter,” said senior economist at Nedbank Isaac Matshego. 

- REUTERS