South Africa recorded a current account deficit of 137.3 billion rand in the fourth quarter, lower than the deficit of 180.6 billion rand recorded in the third quarter, a report by the country's Reserve Bank said Wednesday.

In the fourth quarter, the trade deficit narrowed to 19.6 billion rand from 36.7 billion rand in the third quarter. Exports declined to 668.2 billion rand from 706.3 billion rand, while imports dropped to 739 billion rand from 792.4 billion rand in the third quarter.

The balance on the services, income and current transfer payment account showed a deficit of 117.7 billion rand in the fourth quarter, down from a deficit of 143.9 billion rand in the previous quarter.

For the whole of 2008, the current account showed a deficit of 169.2 billion rand, higher than a deficit of 146.1 billion rand in 2007.

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