Johannesburg – The deficit on South Africa’s trade account narrowed sharply to R5.7bn in November, from a revised R21.63bn shortfall in October, data from the South African Revenue Service (Sars) showed on Tuesday.

Exports fell 5.3% to R83.9bn, while imports contracted 18.7% to R89.6bn on a month-on-month basis.

The November data brings the cumulative gap for the year to R101.1bn, compared with R73.2bn over the same period last year.

“The R5.7bn deficit for November 2014 is due to exports of R83.95bn and imports of R89.66bn,” Sars said in a statement.
“Exports decreased from October to November by R4.74bn (5.3%) and imports decreased from October to November by R20.67bn (18.7%).”

The trade statistics include country trade data for Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland.

Precious metals and stones exports increased by R991m (7.3%).

Month-on-month, mineral products exports decreased R1.93bn (9.8%), vehicles and transport equipment R1.06bn (9.1%), and machinery and electronics R1.04bn (10.7%).

Prepared foodstuffs exports decreased by R622m (13.8%).

Mineral products imports decreased by R9.38bn (32.9%), equipment components R2.17bn (28.7%), chemical products R1.75bn (16.4%), vehicles and transport equipment R1.74bn (18.4%), and machinery and electronics R1.29bn (5.4%).

South Africa recorded a R7.03bn trade surplus with Africa, having exported goods worth a total of R15.56bn and imported goods worth R8.52bn.

Trade with the Americas registered an R1.7bn deficit, while trade with Asia showed a R16.65bn deficit.

Trade with Europe saw a R9.89bn deficit, while trade with Oceania registered a R115m deficit.