The South African Reserve Bank’s quarterly bulletin due for release this week is likely to reflect a narrowing in the current account deficit to 4.1% of GDP in 2015 from a 5.4% shortfall in 2014‚ says Investec economist Kamilla Kaplan.
She said in a note that the current account was likely to have registered a deficit of 3.7% of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2015 versus a prior shortfall of 4.1% of GDP.
“Including the Q4.15 forecast‚ the deficit would therefore have narrowed to 4.1% of GDP in 2015 from -5.4% in 2014‚” Ms Kaplan said.
This week also sees the release of data showing the SARB’s international gross reserves position and also mining and manufacturing production figures for January. Also due for release are the RMB/BER Business Confidence survey for the first quarter of the year as well as the SACCI Business Confidence Index for February.
“In February‚ the SARB’s international gross reserves position is likely to have increased to US$45.5bn from US$45.1bn in January when solely accounting for revaluation effects. In particular‚ the revaluation linked to the gold price rise is likely to offset the effect of US$ depreciation‚” Ms Kaplan said.
“Mining and manufacturing production figures for January are likely to reflect a fragile start to 2016. Specifically‚ mining production is likely to have stagnated at around 0.3% year on year (y/y) in January versus a drop in December of 0.3% y/y.
“Manufacturing production is forecast to have contracted at a rate of 1.2% y/y in January versus prior growth of 0.4% y/y‚” Ms Kaplan added.
She said the prevailing policy climate and broadly adverse operating environment were likely to have continued to weigh on business confidence.
“The RMB/BER Business Confidence survey for the first quarter of 2016 is therefore expected to have remained depressed‚ as was the case throughout 2015.”