A firm view on the rand

Problem: Most economists were expecting a pronounced current account deficit for Q4 2002 and a marginal deficit for the whole calendar year, but publication of the data revealed otherwise. South Africa registered a seasonally adjusted Q4 surplus of ZAR4.3 billion (0.4% of GDP) and a 2002 surplus of ZAR3.3 billion (0.3% of GDP).

The surplus was unexpected for at least two reasons. The volatile monthly trade numbers, which are completely unreliable in the short-term, initially showed a

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