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 Africa Posts Largest Trade Surplus Since 2016


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