The trade account shows the value of South Africa’s merchandise exports minus its merchandise imports. If the exports exceed the imports during a particular period, then the account is said to be in surplus and vice versa. When South Africa is running a trade account surplus, you could say that the country is running at a profit. We are producing more in exports than we consume in imports. The level of exports is impacted by the level of commodity prices and the level of imports depends on consumer spending. When consumers are feeling well-off they buy expensive imported products.

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