Mining Unrest Drives Up South African Trade Deficit

Posted October 31st, 2012 at 11:35 am (UTC-5)
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South Africa's trade deficit rose sharply in September, mainly due to labor unrest that cut mining production.

The government said Wednesday that the deficit jumped from August to $1.6 billion.

Total exports fell nearly eight percent, as exports of base metals, minerals, and precious and semi-precious stones all dropped.

Mining is one of the most important sectors of the South African economy.

Mineworkers began a wave of strikes in August after workers at a platinum mine near Rustenberg won a 22 percent wage increase. The pay hike followed a violent strike in which 46 people were killed.

An analyst for Standard Chartered, Razia Khan, says South Africa's 2012 trade deficit is running more than seven times higher than the deficit seen over the same period last year.