Johannesburg - South Africa’s trade deficit widened to
R13.8bn in September after a R12.2bn shortfall in August as mining exports
fell, the South African Revenue Service said on Wednesday.
Exports decreased by 7.7% month-on-month to R56.7bn in
September while imports fell by 4.2% to R70.5bn, SARS data showed. The
September deficit compared with a small surplus of R2.5bn in the same month
Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected a shortfall of
R10bn for September due to lower mining exports as the sector grapples with
reduced output because of strikes that began in August.
Sars data showed exports of precious and semi-precious
stones and metals decreased by 4% month-on-month, mineral products were also down 4% while base
metal exports fell by 9%.
The cumulative deficit for the year to date amounted to
R86.1bn compared to R5.8bn for the same period in 2011, Sars said.
Said Elna Moolman, Renaissance Capital economist: “Much
worse than expected, partly because of the strikes and that portion should
“We remain very concerned about the current account deficit
The rand initially fell to R8.6905 against the dollar from
R8.6737 before the data was released at 12:00 GMT. It had recovered to R8.68 by
12:09 GMT.The yield on the 2015 bond was steady at 5.485% as was that for the
2026 issue at 7.76%.
The trade account recorded its first annual surplus in seven
years in 2010 but swung back into deficit last year as rising imports outweighed export receipts.
Weak trade data will add pressure on the current account,
which recorded its largest deficit in nearly four years at 6.4% of GDP in the
second quarter of 2012.
The current account deficit, which widened to 3.3% of GDP in
2011 from 2.8% in 2010, has generally been funded by portfolio inflows.