South Africa’s current account deficit narrows sharply in third quarter

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s current account deficit narrowed sharply in the third quarter of 2023, to 0.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) from a revised 2.7% in the second quarter, central bank data showed on Thursday.

In rand terms, the current account recorded a deficit of 19.3 billion rand ($1.02 billion) for the July-September period from a revised 185.2 billion rand deficit in April-June.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a deficit of 111.2 billion rand or 1.9% of GDP in the third quarter.

The trade surplus grew to 189.1 billion rand in the third quarter compared to 22.2 billion rand in the second quarter.

“The value of merchandise imports decreased more than that of goods exports,” the South African Reserve Bank said in a statement accompanying the data.

On Tuesday, the statistics agency released third-quarter GDP figures which showed a slight rise in exports although overall output contracted. The rise in exports was driven by vehicles, precious metals and vegetable products among other things, the GDP data showed.

($1 = 18.9450 rand)

(Reporting by Kopano Gumbi; Additional reporting by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Alexander Winning)