Exports rose by ZAR 5.66 billion or 6.3 percent to ZAR 96.1 billion in March of 2016 from ZAR 90.47 billion in February, mainly due to higher sales of mineral products (+17 percent), base metals (+11 percent), and precious metals and stones (+6.0 percent) and other unclassified (+87 percent). In contrast, exports of prepared foodstuff's dropped 9 percent. South African exports major destinations were China (8.4 percent of total exports), Germany (8.3 percent), the US (8.0 percent), Botswana (5.3 percent) and India (4.4 percent).
Imports rose by ZAR 1.47 billion or 1.6 percent to ZAR 93.2 billion from ZAR 91.7 billion in the previous month, as purchases of mineral products (+23 percent), plastics and rubber (+22 percent) and machinery and electronic (+4percentt) led the increase. Meanwhile, imports of textiles (-23 percent) and vehicles and transport equipment (-22 percent) fell. The main sources of imports to the country were China (14 percent of total imports), Germany (13 percent), the US (6.6 percent), India (5.1 percent) and Japan (3.7 percent).
So far this year, the trade deficit narrowed 39.1 percent to ZAR 17.9 billion compared to ZAR 29.5 billion a year earlier.
Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a ZAR 6.2 billion deficit in March.