SA’s January trade deficit is the smallest since 2012 and economists expect modest economic activity to keep the deficit well contained for the rest of 2017. January’s R10.81bn trade balance deficit is an improvement on the deficit of R19.55bn recorded in January 2016. Investec economist Kamilla Kaplan said: "Domestic economic activity is expected to recover only modestly this year, while there is scope for export growth to strengthen further, in line with the expected lift in global trade momentum." She added: "A narrower trade deficit would contribute to keeping the current account deficit contained. This, coupled with the ongoing commitment to fiscal consolidation, should alleviate concerns regarding the ability to sustain and manage the twin deficits." In December 2016, the economy posted a trade surplus of R12.4bn, but SA typically incurs a seasonal trade deficit in January as imports increase and exports drop off. January’s trade balance deficit was attributable to exports of ...

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