South Africa recorded a trade surplus of R2.78 billion in December 2013, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) said on Friday.
This was the second surplus following a surplus of R770 million recorded in November.
A surplus in December was expected by analysts.
"This was against the market consensus of a surplus of R4 billion and our forecast of R4.2 billion," said Nedbank economists.
According to SARS, exports decreased from November to December by R8.91 billion (10.3%) and imports decreased from November to December by R11.0 billion (12.8%).
The cumulative deficit for 2013 stood at R69.91 billion, said SARS.
Excluding trade with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland (BLNS) countries, South Africa recorded a trade deficit of R4.3billion in December, from R9.3 billion in November.
"Some improvement in the trade balance is expected in 2014 due to the weaker rand, some recovery in traditional trading partners and slow domestic demand," noted Nedbank, adding that the figures were unlikely to have much impact on either the rand or policy in the short term.