South Africa Trade Gap Narrows Sharply in February

South Africa's trade deficit decreased sharply to ZAR 1.07 billion in February of 2016 compared with an upwardly revised ZAR 17.96 billion gap in the previous month while staying below market consensus of ZAR 4.65 billion deficit. Exports rose 27.7 percent, as sales of vehicles and transport equipment rose sharply, while imports went up at a much slower 2.7 percent, mainly due to higher purchases of vegetable products.

Exports climbed by ZAR 19.29 billion or 27 percent to ZAR 90.68 billion in February of 2016 from ZAR 71.39 billion in January, mainly due to higher sales of vehicles and transport equipment (+109 percent), precious metals and stones (+52 percent), vegetable products (+35 percent) and machinery and electronics (+28 percent). In contrast, exports of mineral products dropped 8 percent. South African exports major destinations were Germany (8.2 of total exports), the US (8 percent), China (7.4 percent), Botswana (5.3 percent) and Japan (4.9 percent).

Imports rose by ZAR 2.39 billion or 2.7 percent to ZAR 91.75 billion from ZAR 89.36 billion in the previous month, as purchases of vegetable products (+28 percent), textiles (+24 percent), vehicles and transport equipment (+19 percent) and equipment components (+13 percent) led the increase. Meanwhile, imports of machinery and electronics (-7 percent) fell. The main sources of imports to the country were China (20.2 percent of total imports), Germany (12.4 percent), the US (7.3 percent), India (4 percent) and Japan (3.2 percent).

So far this year, the trade deficit narrowed 38.5 percent to ZAR 19.03 billion compared to ZAR 30.96 billion a year earlier. 

Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a ZAR 9.21 billion deficit in February. 

South Africa Trade Gap Narrows Sharply in February

South African Revenue Service | Joana Ferreira |
3/31/2016 1:27:18 PM