Filomena Scalise

Johannesburg - The trade deficit was R21.16 billion in March, the SA Revenue Service (Sars) said on Wednesday.

This figure excluded trade data with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland (BLNS), Sars said in a statement.

Including the BLNS countries, the trade deficit was R11.39bn.

This was compared to the R1.72bn trade surplus recorded for February, which translated into a trade deficit of R6.54bn excluding BLNS countries' data.

“The R11.39bn deficit for March 2014 can be attributed to exports of R80.26bn and imports of R91.65bn.”

Including the BLNS countries' data, exports decreased by R2.51bn (three percent) between February and March, while imports increased 11.6 percent to R9.52bn.

“The cumulative deficit for 2014 is R27.69bn compared to R21.61bn in 2013.”

Sars said exports decreased three percent (5.4 percent excluding BLNS).

Mineral products exports decreased by R3645 million, or 16.7 percent, which was R3966m or 19.8 percent excluding BLNS countries' data.

Precious metals and stones exports decreased by R477m or 3.6 percent, which was R992m or 8.1 percent excluding BLNS.

Chemical exports increased R891m or 20 percent, which was R848m or 23.2 percent excluding BLNS.

Machinery and electronics exports increased by R685m or nine percent, which was R517m or 8.3 percent excluding BLNS data.

From February to March, imports increased by 11.6 percent, or 12.1 percent excluding BLNS.

Mineral products imports increased by R7150m or 36.9 percent, which was R7148m or 37 percent excluding BLNS countries.

Machinery and electronics imports grew by R2332m or 13.4 percent, which was R2355 million or 13.6 percent excluding BLNS.

Vegetable products imports increased by R813m or 77 percent, which was R806m or 78.1 percent excluding BLNS data.

Imports of vehicle and transport equipment increased by R809m or 9.3 percent, which was R794m or 9.2 percent excluding BLNS.

“The cumulative deficit for 2014 is R27.69bn (or R53.04bn excluding BLNS countries' data) compared to R21.61bn (R40.28bn excluding BLNS) in 2013,” Sars said. - Sapa