South Africa Trade Balance Swings to Surplus

South Africa posted a ZAR 1.77 billion trade surplus in November of 2015 from an upwardly revised ZAR 21.60 billion deficit in the previous month, beating market expectations. It was the first trade surplus recorded in five months, as exports expanded by 10.3 percent boosted by higher sales of precious metals and stones while imports dropped 13.5 percent as purchases of equipment components declined strongly.

Exports increased by ZAR 8.86 billion or 10.3 percent to ZAR 94.66 billion, mainly due to higher sales of precious metals and stones (+51.7 percent), vehicles and transport equipment (+16.3 percent), live animals (+14.6 percent) and chemical products (+4 percent). By contrast, shipments of vegetable products went down by 10 percent. South African exports major destinations were the US (8.9 of total exports), China (6.3 percent), Germany (5.9 percent), Japan (5.7 percent) and Namibia (5.4 percent).

Imports fell sharply by ZAR 14.51 billion or 13.5 percent to ZAR 92.89 billion, as equipment components dropped 45.1 percent. Also, purchases of vehicle and transport equipment went down by 24.7 percent; of chemical products declined by 18.5 percent; and of machinery and electronics shrank 13.8 percent. Meanwhile, imports of vegetable products advanced strongly by 45.8 percent. The main sources of imports to the country were China (24.5 percent of total imports), Germany (13.2 percent), the US (8 percent), India (5.3 percent) and Japan (4.1 percent).

So far this year, the trade deficit narrowed 42.1 percent to ZAR 58.18 billion compared to ZAR 100.48 billion a year earlier. 

Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a ZAR 7.45 billion deficit in November. 

South Africa Trade Balance Swings to Surplus

Joana Ferreira |
12/30/2015 12:24:58 PM