South Africa Trade Balance Swings to Deficit

South Africa recorded a trade deficit of ZAR 2.88 billion in July of 2019 compared to an upwardly revised ZAR 5.54 billion surplus in the previous month, and against market expectations of a ZAR 2.7 billion surplus. Imports soared 11.7 percent from a month earlier while exports rose at a much slower 3.4 percent.

Imports climbed 11.7 percent month-over-month to ZAR 115.82 billion in July, boosted by purchases of machinery & electronics (22 percent); vehicles & transport equipment (32 percent) and original components equipments (17 percent). In contrast, imports declined for mineral products (-17 percent). Acquisitions rose from Asia (15.5 percent), Europe (19.3 percent) and America (27 percent), but fell from Africa (-19.1 percent) and Oceania (-46.8 percent).

Exports went up 3.4 percent from a month earlier to ZAR 112.94 billion, on higher shipments of vehicles & transport equipment (22 percent); vegetable products (28 percent) and chemical products (23 percent). Meanwhile, those of mineral products (-8 percent) and base metals (-10 percent) tumbled. Overseas sales increased to Europe (18.8 percent), Africa (11.4 percent) and America (1.6 percent), while declined to Asia (-12.2 percent) and Oceania (-33.4 percent).

Considering the first seven months of the year, the country's trade deficit rose to ZAR 4.35 billion from ZAR 3.81 billion, as imports grew at a faster 7.7 percent to ZAR 733.05 billion and exports went up 7.6 percent to ZAR 728.70 billion.

Excluding trade with neighbouring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country's trade shortfall widened considerably to ZAR 12.16 billion in July 2019 from ZAR 2.58 billion in a month earlier. Imports grew 11.9 percent to ZAR 112.09 billion and exports advanced at a slower 2.4 percent to ZAR 99.93 billion.

South Africa Trade Balance Swings to Deficit

South African Revenue Service | Luisa Carvalho |
8/30/2019 3:10:22 PM