Picture: iSTOCK
Picture: iSTOCK

SA recorded a shock trade deficit of R2.95bn in September — a far cry from analysts expectations of a surplus.

This follows August’s revised surplus of R8.77bn from R9.79bn.

The balance of trade is an indicator of the difference in value between the country’s imports and exports and dictates SA’s current account, which is indicative of SA’s trade with the rest of the world.

September’s deficit is attributable to exports of R113.69bn and imports of R116.64bn, data from Sars showed. This is at odds with the Bloomberg consensus of a R4.2bn surplus.

In July, SA recorded a deficit after four consecutive months of surplus readings. Economists expected the trade balance to remain in surplus after moving back into that position in August.

Month-to-month trade figures are often very volatile but economists pay close attention to the trend. However, the year-to-date (January 1 to September 30 2018) trade deficit of R0.33bn is a huge deterioration on the surplus for the comparable period in 2017 of R44.89bn.

Said Investec economist Lara Hodes, “Global export order growth has slowed somewhat, according to Markit, in part underpinned by mounting trade and geo-political tensions.”