080310 The new offices of SARS at corner Rissik street and Albert street. Picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba

Johannesburg - South Africa's trade statistics show a trade deficit of R24.53 billion for January 2013, the SA Revenue Service (Sars) said on Thursday.

The deficit arose from the difference between revenue earned from exports of R53.28bn and payments for imports of R77.80bn.

The figures showed that exports decreased from December 2012 to January 2013 by R651bn (-10.9 percent), while imports increased over the same period by R15.31bn (24.5 percent).

The increased trade deficit of R24.53bn for January, from R2.70bn in December 2012, was due to increased imports of, among others, machinery and electrical appliances.

It also included imports of mineral products, base metals, chemical products, plastics and rubber, textile and textile articles, and original equipment components.

Exports decreased in precious and semi-precious metals, machinery and electronics, vehicles, vessels and aircraft. - Sapa