* Slack global demand, firmer currency hurt exports in Q3
* Fixed investment prolongs slide as companies cut spending
* Weak growth, business confidence affecting investment
(Adds quotes, details)
PRETORIA, Dec 9 South Africa's current account
deficit widened to 4.1 percent of gross domestic product in the
third quarter of 2016 from a revised deficit of 2.9 percent in
the second quarter, the central bank said on Friday.
Exports fell during the quarter, resulting in a trade
deficit of 4 billion rand ($291.5 million) compared with a
revised surplus of 48 billion rand in the second quarter, the
Reserve Bank said in its December quarterly bulletin.
The bank said the deficit in the current and trade accounts
were due to weaker global demand for the country's goods.
"Export earnings were also affected by the strengthening in
the exchange value of the rand which more than offset the
benefit arising from higher international commodity prices," the
The rand extended its losses in response to the
data, falling 0.75 percent to 13.7450 per dollar at 0812 GMT.
The bank said fixed investments by companies decreased for a
fourth consecutive quarter, declining 1 percent after a 6.8
percent fall in the previous quarter as private businesses in
particular cut down on spending.
The prolonged decline in real capital expenditure by private
businesses - comprising nearly two-thirds of total capital
investment - was driven by subdued economic conditions and low
business confidence, the bank noted.
Africa's most industrialised economy is struggling to
attract investment, with sentiment dimmed by political
uncertainty, weak growth that has hit consumer activity, as well
as the looming threat of credit downgrades to junk.
"The economy would have to turn before you see any kind of
investment drive," said senior analyst at the bank Johan van den
On Tuesday data showed the economy had barely advanced,
expanding by 0.2 percent in the third quarter as manufacturing
A Reuters poll sees the economy expanding 1.1 percent next
year from a forecast 0.4 percent growth in 2016, well below the
5 percent annual growth government is targeting in bid to lower
soaring unemployment and a growing budget deficit.
The country dodged widely expected downgrades of its
sovereign credit score to subinvestment, with S&P Global
Ratings, Fitch and Moody's all affirming its investment status,
albeit with a negative outlook.
($1 = 13.7233 rand)
(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by James Macharia)