Imports climbed 18.9 percent month-over-month to ZAR 101.76 billion in January of 2019. It is the strongest rise in a year, boosted by higher purchases of machinery & electronics (31 percent); original equipment components (79 percent); base metals (74 percent) and textiles (74 percent). In contrast, imports declined for mineral products (-19 percent). The most important import partners were: China (23.1 percent of total purchases), Germany (9.2 percent), the US (5.7 percent), India (4.2 percent) and Saudi Arabia (3.4 percent).
Exports fell 13.3 percent from a month earlier to ZAR 88.68 billion, due to lower shipments of vehicle & transport equipments (-51 percent); precious metals & stones (-12 percent); machinery & electronics (-16 percent) and base metals (-9 percent). On the other hand, sales of mineral products grew 4 percent. Main export partners were: China (11.1 percent of total shipments), the US (8.1 percent), Germany (6.2 percent), Japan (4.8 percent) and Botswana (4.8 percent).
Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country trade balance shifted to a trade deficit of ZAR 20.44 billion in January of 2019 compared to a downwardly revised trade surplus of ZAR 8.53 billion in the prior month.