Exports rose 4.6 percent in May from April to ZAR 88.94 billion. Sales of vehicle and transport equipment rose 19.7 percent and accounted the most for the increase. Shipments of vegetable products jumped 27.4 percent and those of mineral products rose 5.1 percent. In contrast, exports of precious metals and stones shrank 5.4 percent and those of chemical products contracted 13.5 percent.
Imports shrank 2.9 percent to ZAR 84.99 billion, mainly due to a 7.4 percent drop in purchases of machinery and electronics. In addition, imports of vehicle and transport equipment and plastics and rubber fell 5.3 percent and 8.1 percent respectively while those of mineral products (+4.6 percent) and vegetables (+13.9 percent) increased.
Considering January to May, exports rose 3 percent while imports decreased 1.2 percent. As a result, the trade deficit narrowed 36.4 percent over a year earlier to ZAR 29.85 billion.
Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a ZAR 4.11 billion deficit in May.