Exports jumped by ZAR 9.05 billion, or 10.1 percent, to ZAR 98.92 billion in September 2016 from ZAR 89.86 billion in August, boosted by higher sales of precious metals and stones (+37 percent), chemical products (+15 percent), vehicles and transport equipment (+13 percent) and mineral products (+11 percent). By contrast, exports of vegetable products declined 13 percent. South African exports major destinations were the US (8.2 percent of total exports), China (8.1 percent), Germany (7.6 percent), Japan (4.8 percent) and Botswana (4.8 percent).
Imports went down by ZAR 6.53 billion, or 6.6 percent, to ZAR 92.22 billion from ZAR 98.74 billion the previous month, as purchases fell for precious metals and stones (-66 percent), mineral products (-30 percent), vegetable products (-20 percent) and vehicles and transport equipment (-4 percent). Meantime, imports rose for miscellaneous manufactured articles (+20 percent), base metals (+10 percent) and equipment components (+5 percent). The main sources of imports to the country were China (18.8 percent of total imports), Germany (12.4 percent), the US (6.3 percent), India (4.3 percent) and Saudi Arabia (4.2 percent).
Considering the first nine months of 2016, the trade deficit shrank to ZAR 9.95 billion compared to ZAR 37.19 billion the same period a year earlier, as exports went up 5.8 percent and imports grew at a slower 2.2 percent.
Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a trade balance deficit of ZAR 3.05 billion in September.