Sarb said the deficit escalated to R204.1billion from a revised deficit of R143.5bn in the first quarter as the value of merchandise imports increased more than exports. It said trade balance switched from a surplus of R41.9bn in the first quarter of 2019 to a deficit of R27.2bn in the second quarter as the value of merchandise imports increased more than exports.
Investec economist Lara Hodes said that South Africa's export performance was likely to remain constrained on the back of a deterioration in international trade flows.
Hodes said international trade volumes had contracted for the eleventh month in a row in July.
“While import growth will likely be restricted by the moderation in the international oil price and subdued rates of domestic consumption, we could see the trade account recording a deficit position in the near term,” Hodes said.