Imports slipped 8.6 percent month-over-month to ZAR 105.27 billion in September, dragged down by lower purchases of mineral products (-23 percent); machinery & electronics (-10 percent); original equipment components (-17 percent) and vehicles & transport equipments (-11 percent). In contrast, acquisitions rose for vegetable products (46 percent). Purchases went down from Asia (-4.6 percent); Europe (-9.3 percent), America (-24 percent) and Oceania (-44.5 percent), while grew slightly from Africa (1.2 percent).
Exports decreased at a slower 7.8 percent from a month earlier to ZAR 110.44 billion, as shipments fell for all categories, namely mineral products (-10 percent); vehicles & transport equipments (-11 percent); vegetable products (-17 percent); machinery & electronics (-15 percent) and base metals (-5 percent). Overseas sales declined to Asia (-6.9 percent), Europe (-11.9 percent), Africa (-4.6 percent) and America (-10.4 percent), but rose to Oceania (16.1 percent).
Considering the first nine months of the year, the country's trade surplus widened to ZAR 2.51 billion from ZAR 1.76 billion, as exports grew at a faster 5.4 percent to ZAR 956.27 billion while imports advanced 5.3 percent to ZAR 953.76 billion.
Excluding trade with neighbouring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country's trade shortfall narrowed to ZAR 2.94 billion in September from an upwardly revised ZAR 4.29 billion in a month earlier. Imports sank 9.4 percent to ZAR 100.88 billion while exports fell at a softer 8.5 percent to ZAR 97.94 billion.