Filomena Scalise

Johannesburg - South Africa recorded a wider 2.78 billion rand ($249 million) trade surplus in December from 770 million rand the previous month, data from the South African Revenue Service showed on Friday.

The data incorporates previously excluded trade with South Africa's regional neighbours Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, collectively referred to as BLNS.

When stripping out trade with the BLNS countries, the trade balance showed a 4.31 billion rand deficit for December, much narrower than the 9.24 billion rand shortfall for November.

Exports in December, including regional trade, were down 10.3 percent, while imports fell 12.8 percent, SARS said.

The cumulative deficit for 2013 amounted to 69.91 billion rand, double that recorded in 2012. - Reuters