Exports fell sharply by ZAR 16.57 billion or 18.8 percent to ZAR 71.50 billion in January of 2016 from ZAR 88.08 billion in December, mainly due to lower sales of precious metals and stones (-37 percent), vehicles and transport equipment (-34 percent), prepared foodstuffs (-26 percent), chemical products (-25 percent) and machinery and electronics (-12 percent). South African exports major destinations were China (8.8 of total exports), Germany (7.2 percent), the US (6.2 percent), Botswana (5.9 percent) and India (5.1 percent).
Imports rose by ZAR 8.86 billion or 11 percent to ZAR 89.37 billion from ZAR 80.52 billion in the previous month, as purchases of equipment components (+129 percent), base metals (+31 percent) and machinery and electronics (+16 percent) led the increase. Meanwhile, imports of mineral products (-17 percent) and vehicle and transport equipment (-11 percent) fell. The main sources of imports to the country were China (20.1 percent of total imports), Germany (11.2 percent), the US (6.1 percent), India (4.6 percent) and Japan (3.3 percent).
Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a ZAR 25.49 billion deficit in January.