South Africa posted a record trade deficit of 24.53 billion rand ($2.7 billion) in the first month of the year, thanks mainly on a huge jump in imports, the revenue authority said on Thursday
The January deficit is nearly 10-fold that of the previous month which stood at 2.7 billion rand.
The rand slipped by 1.5 percent against the dollar to reach 8.9606 per US unit.
The South African Revenue Service reported that the trade deficit arose from 53.28 billion rand of exports and 77.8 billion rand of imports.
Imports rose by roughly a quarter from December - reflecting an increase in imports of machinery, electrical appliances, mineral and chemical products as well as textiles.
Exports of precious and semi-precious metals, motor vehicles and electronics were subdued.