Increased exports of precious and semi-precious stones and mineral products helped South Africa record a trade surplus of 2.5 billion rands (321 million U.S. dollars) in September, the Business Day newspaper in Johannesburg reported on Monday.
Citing figures from the South African Revenue Service, it said South African exports rose by 11.1 percent month on month to 67.8 billion rands (8.7 billion dollars), while imports increased by a negligible 0.8 percent to 65.3 billion rands (8.38 billion dollars) .
This is the first surplus registered by South Africa in three months. In August, South Africa recorded a deficit of 3.7 billion rands (475 million dollars).
The newspaper said this was because South Africa's imports of machinery and electrical appliances in August outpaced exports of chemicals, precious stones and metals.
Gina Schoeman, senior economist at South Africa's Absa Capital, said the movement of South Africa's trade balance into more surplus territory than what the market was expecting leaves analysts e comfortable with the fact that South Africa does not really have any current-account deficit worries over the medium term.
Isaac Matshego, economist at South Africa's Nedbank, said the growth in exports is surprising.
"I don't believe it is going to be sustained over the coming months because the global economy is still under some pressure," he said.