Exports jumped 7.5 percent month-over-month to ZAR 105.41 billion in March 2019, mainly driven by shipments of mineral products (16 percent); precious metals & stones (17 percent); machinery & electronics (9 percent) and chemical products (9 percent). In contrast, sales of base metals went down (-4 percent). The most important export partners were: China (10.8 percent of total exports), Germany (8.8 percent), India (5.7 percent), the US (5.7 percent) and Japan (4.6 percent).
Imports advanced at a slower 6.6 percent from a month earlier to ZAR 100.40 billion, boosted by purchases of mineral products (17 percent); original equipment components (24 percent); chemical products (14 percent) and vehicles & transport equipments (13 percent). Conversely, purchases were lower for textiles (-26 percent). Main import partners were: China (14.2 percent of total imports), Germany (12.1 percent), the US (7.0 percent), Saudi Arabia (5.9 percent) and India (4.5 percent).
Excluding trade with neighbouring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country's trade gap shortened to ZAR 2.49 billion from an upwardly revised ZAR 3.41 billion in the previous month. Exports surged 7.3 percent to ZAR 93.63 billion whereas imports rose 5.7 percent to ZAR 96.12 billion.