South Africa recorded a trade surplus of ZAR 17.2 billion in December 2018 compared to a downwardly revised 3.29 billion surplus in the prior month and beating market expectations of a ZAR 9.0 billion surplus. It is the widest trade surplus since May 2016, as imports fell faster than exports. In 2018, the country posted a trade surplus of ZAR 11.3 billion compared to a ZAR 76.7 billion surplus in the previous year. Balance of Trade in South Africa averaged 99.03 ZAR Million from 1957 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 17167.41 ZAR Million in December of 2018 and a record low of -27436.04 ZAR Million in January of 2018.

Balance of Trade in South Africa is expected to be -4894.00 ZAR Million by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Balance of Trade in South Africa to stand at -18615.00 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the South Africa Balance of Trade is projected to trend around -1700.00 ZAR Million in 2020, according to our econometric models.

South Africa Balance of Trade
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Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
2018-10-31 12:00 PM Balance of Trade ZAR-2.95B ZAR8.77B ZAR4B ZAR 7.3B
2018-11-30 12:00 PM Balance of Trade ZAR-5.55B ZAR-3.83B ZAR-2.25B ZAR -2.6B
2018-12-28 12:00 PM Balance of Trade ZAR3.49B ZAR-4.29B ZAR-2.25B ZAR 0.21B
2019-01-31 12:00 PM Balance of Trade ZAR17.17B ZAR3.29B ZAR9B ZAR 4.7B
2019-02-28 12:00 PM Balance of Trade ZAR17.17B ZAR-14.5B ZAR -23B
2019-03-29 12:00 PM Balance of Trade
2019-04-30 12:00 PM Balance of Trade



South Africa Posts Largest Trade Surplus Since 2016

South Africa recorded a trade surplus of ZAR 17.2 billion in December 2018 compared to a downwardly revised 3.29 billion surplus in the prior month and beating market expectations of a ZAR 9.0 billion surplus. It is the widest trade surplus since May 2016, as imports fell faster than exports. In 2018, the country posted a trade surplus of ZAR 11.3 billion compared to a ZAR 76.7 billion surplus in the previous year.

Imports tumbled 25.8 percent month-over-month to ZAR 85.58 billion in December 2018, the lowest amount since July 2017. Lower purchases were registered for: machinery & electronics (-31 percent); mineral products (-16 percent); original equipment components (-44 percent); chemical products (-24 percent) and base metals (-38 percent). The most important import partners were: China (16.1 percent of total purchases), Germany (8.1 percent), the US (6.3 percent), Saudi Arabia (4.8 percent) and Nigeria (4.3 percent).

Exports declined 13.4 percent from a month earlier to ZAR 102.75 billion, amid lower sales of precious metals & stones (-19 percent); mineral products (-12 percent);  vehicle & transport equipments (-9 percent); machinery & electronics (-22 percent) and base metals (-13 percent). Main export partners were: China (9.2 percent of total shipments), Germany (7.6 percent), the US (7.2 percent), India (4.9 percent) and Japan (4.6 percent).

Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country trade balance shifted to a trade surplus of ZAR 8.97 billion in December 2018 compared to an upwardly revised trade deficit of ZAR 6.59 billion in the previous month.


South African Revenue Service | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com
1/31/2019 1:02:19 PM



South Africa Trade Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
Balance of Trade 17167.41 3285.67 17167.41 -27436.04 ZAR Million [+]
Current Account -176577.00 -167380.00 15627.00 -246452.00 ZAR Million [+]
Current Account to GDP -2.50 -2.80 6.00 -7.50 percent [+]
Imports 85582.42 115384.64 125838.73 66.10 ZAR Million [+]
Exports 102749.82 118670.30 120004.16 55.80 ZAR Million [+]
External Debt 168147.00 170811.00 183239.00 33262.00 USD Million [+]
Tourist Arrivals 1341316.00 1323652.00 1598893.00 37430.00 [+]
Gold Reserves 125.30 125.30 183.51 123.48 Tonnes [+]
Terms Of Trade 105.00 106.90 109.50 42.20 Index Points [+]
Terrorism Index 4.26 4.09 4.26 0.22 [+]
Weapons Sales 74.00 65.00 235.00 1.00 USD Million [+]
Crude Oil Production 2.00 2.00 58.00 2.00 BBL/D/1K [+]
Foreign Direct Investment 1885.00 1863.00 2101.00 1.00 ZAR Billion [+]

Exports by Country  |   Exports by Category  |   Imports by Country  |   Imports by Category



South Africa Balance of Trade

In 2017, South Africa recorded the biggest trade deficits with China, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Thailand, France, Nigeria, Italy and Brazil and the biggest trade surpluses with Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Belgium and Netherlands. This page provides the latest reported value for - South Africa Balance of Trade - plus previous releases, historical high and low, short-term forecast and long-term prediction, economic calendar, survey consensus and news. South Africa Balance of Trade - actual data, historical chart and calendar of releases - was last updated on February of 2019.

Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
17167.41 3285.67 17167.41 -27436.04 1957 - 2018 ZAR Million Monthly




Country Last Previous
Argentina 372.00 Jan/19
Australia 3681.00 Dec/18
Brazil 2190.00 Jan/19
Canada -2060.10 Nov/18
China 391.60 Jan/19
Euro Area 16990.70 Dec/18
France -4653.00 Dec/18
Germany 13900.00 Dec/18
India -14730.00 Jan/19
Indonesia -1159.50 Jan/19
Italy 3658.00 Dec/18
Japan -1415.36 Jan/19
Mexico 1836.32 Dec/18
Netherlands 3572.00 Dec/18
Russia 18856.00 Dec/18
Saudi Arabia 184673.00 Sep/18
Singapore 2415.21 Jan/19
South Africa 17167.41 Dec/18
South Korea 1336.00 Jan/19
Spain -3247399.00 Dec/18
Switzerland 1388.18 Jan/19
Turkey -2674.41 Dec/18
United Kingdom -3229.00 Dec/18
United States -49313.00 Nov/18


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