Picture: 123RF/LEON SWART
Picture: 123RF/LEON SWART

SA's current-account deficit widened in the second quarter, above economists' expectations, and was the biggest gap since the first quarter of 2018. 

The deficit deteriorated to 4% from 2.9% in the previous quarter and above a Bloomberg consensus of 3%.

SA's deficit on the current account of the balance of payments widened by R60.5bn to R204bn from R143.5bn, data from the SA Reserve Bank showed on Thursday. Nine economists polled by Bloomberg were expecting a deficit of R145bn. 

The current account is indicative of SA’s trade with the rest of the world. Compared to recent years, the deficit has narrowed significantly after averaging more than 5% of GDP between 2012 and 2015.

The country's trade balance switched to a deficit of R27.2bn from a surplus of R41.9bn in the first quarter. The deterioration in the trade balance was due to an increase in the value of merchandise imports compared to exports. 

The deficit on the services, income and current transfer account narrowed to R176.9bn in the second quarter from R185.5bn in the previous quarter.