Tough times for SA

The country's current account deficit widened to 4.8 percent of GDP in Q1, as exports slumped.

The central bank said this week that South Africa‘s current account deficit registered its largest shortfall in two years in Q1, as the trade balance swung to a deficit, following a steep decline in exports. 

In its quarterly bulletin, The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) said that the current account deficit widened to 4.8 percent of GDP in the first quarter, from 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017. The deficit was the largest since the first quarter of 2016.

The bank said:

“The value of merchandise exports was affected by both lower export volumes and lower rand prices as the external value of the rand strengthened… A marked decline in the value of mining exports in the first quarter, weighed down by the decrease in the rand price of mining commodities, contributed most to the decrease in the total value of merchandise exports.”