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South Africa Current Account Swings To Surplus

South Africa's current account posted surplus in the first quarter for the first time since 2003, South African Reserve Bank said Thursday.

The balance on the current account of the balance of payments logged a surplus of ZAR 69.7 billion, which was the first surplus since the first quarter of 2003. The deficit totaled ZAR 68.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The current account balance as a ratio of gross domestic product came in at +1.3 percent in the first quarter versus -1.3 percent in the fourth quarter.

With the domestic lockdown restrictions only effective as from late March, the effects of the covid-19 pandemic on imports and exports were still limited in the first quarter.

The trade surplus more than doubled to ZAR 208.0 billion from ZAR 102.5 billion in the fourth quarter.

The shortfall on the services, income and current transfer account narrowed substantially further to ZAR 138.2 billion from ZAR 170.6 billion in the fourth quarter.

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