South Africa Trade Surplus Widens to 5-Year High


South Africa trade surplus increased to ZAR 8.22 billion in December of 2015 from a downwardly revised ZAR 0.68 billion surplus in the previous month and beating market expectations of ZAR 4.85 billion. It was the highest value since December of 2010, as exports dropped 5.1 percent while imports fell at a much faster 13.3 percent.

Exports decreased by ZAR 4.80 billion or 5.1 percent to ZAR 88.77 billion in December of 2015 from ZAR 93.57 billin in November, mainly due to lower sales of vehicles and transport equipment (-28 percent), machinery and electronics (-14 percent) and precious metals and stones (-5 percent). By contrast, shipments of vegetable products went up strongly by 50 percent. South African exports major destinations were China (8.3 of total exports), the US (7.3 percent), Japan (5.4 percent), Germany (5.3 percent) and Botswana (4.4 percent).

Imports fell sharply by ZAR 12.34 billion or 13.3 percent to ZAR 80.55 billion from ZAR 92.89 billion in the previous month, as purchases of equipment components (-35 percent) and textiles (-30 percent) led the fall. Also, imports of base metals went down by 22 percent; and those of machinery and electronics declined by 16 percent. Meanwhile, imports of vehicle and transport equipment advanced 14 percent. The main sources of imports to the country were China (18.1 percent of total imports), Germany (9.6 percent), the US (7.8 percent), India (4.2 percent) and Nigeria (3.5 percent).

Considering full 2015, the trade deficit narrowed 40.9 percent to ZAR 48.63 billion compared to ZAR 82.27 billion in 2014, as exports increased by 3.8 percent while imports rose only by 0.4 percent. 

Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a ZAR 0.04 billion deficit in December and a ZAR 154.4 billion gap in 2015. 

South Africa Trade Surplus Widens to 5-Year High


Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
1/29/2016 12:45:25 PM