The Johannesburg Stock Exchange. File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa recorded a trade deficit of R27.6 billion in January-the highest trade deficit on record as exports decreased from December 7 to January 2018 by R23.5bn. The deficit was comparable to a downwardly revised R15.3bn surplus in December and well below market expectations of an R5bn deficit.

The South African Revenue Services said exports of mineral products declined by R5.9bn, while vehicle and transport equipment tanked by R5bn and machinery and products shed R1.6bn.

The Revenue Services said imports increased from December to January by R19.4bn.

The year-to-date trade balance deficit of R27.6bn is deterioration on the deficit for the comparable period in 2017 of R11.2bn.

The main month-on-month import improvements were recorded in the original equipment components with R4.6bn, mineral products R3.4bn, machinery and electronics R2.2bn and base metals R2bn.

According to macroeconomics statistics website Trading Economics Balance of Trade in South Africa R69bn from 1957 until 2018, reaching an all time high of R18.7bn in May of 2016 and a record low of R27.7bn in January of 2018.