Trade figures disappoint
A SUBSTANTIAL decrease in both imports and exports saw South Africa record a trade deficit of R451.6-million in February from a R517.2-million surplus in January.
The trade figures, released by Customs and Excise, came as a shock after economists had predicted a R1-billion surplus.
Economists, however, warn that figures for one month do not indicate a trend, and this could easily be reversed in March.
Exports of R8.8-billion were down from R11.2-billion in January, while imports of R9.3-billion were down from R10.7-billion in January.
Johan Rossouw, chief economist at Huysamer Stals, said it was disappointing that exports had decreased so much.
But while this was bad news from a reserves point of view, it did not point to a trend and a better export performance could be expected in the months to come.