The Reserve Bank in Pretoria. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
The Reserve Bank in Pretoria. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

SA's current-account deficit narrowed in the third quarter of 2019 by less than economists’ expectations, data from the SA Reserve Bank showed on Thursday.

The current account is indicative of SA’s trade with the rest of the world. The deficit decreased to 3.7% of GDP from 4.1% in the second quarter and below expectations of 3%, according to a Bloomberg consensus.

SA's deficit on the current account of the balance of payments narrowed by R18.3bn to R190.3bn. This is less than the median forecast of R167bn by seven economists polled by Bloomberg.

The Bank said SA's trade balance switched to a surplus of R41.1bn from a deficit of R31.8bn in the previous quarter. This was due to the value of merchandise exports increasing while that of imports fell.

SA's terms of trade, which include gold, improved in the period as the rand price of exports rose while imports declined.

The deficit on the services, income and current transfer account widened to R231.4bn in the period from R176.9bn in the second quarter.

mjoo@businesslive.co.za