Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

SA recorded a surprise trade deficit of R2.88bn in July from an upward revised surplus of R5.5bn in the previous month.

July's deficit is attributable to exports of R112.94bn against imports of R115.82bn. Exports increased 5.6% and imports increased 3.9% year on year in July.

The year-to-date (January 1 to July 31) trade deficit of R4.35bn is higher than the deficit of R3.81bn in the comparable period in 2018. But July's deficit is an improvement on a deficit of R4.56bn recorded in the same month in 2018. 

The balance of trade is an indicator of the difference in value between a country’s imports and exports. The current account reflects the country’s trade with the rest of the world.

Data released by the SA Revenue Service on Friday showed that year-to-date exports grew 7.6% to R728bn and imports rose 7.7% to R733bn. 

This is the first deficit in three months after the country recorded an upwardly revised R3.53bn deficit in April, while a surplus of R2.9bn was the consensus among six economists, according to a Bloomberg poll.

mjoo@businesslive.co.za