Exports fell by ZAR 5.29 billion or 5.5 percent to ZAR 90.23 billion in August of 2016 from an downwardly revised ZAR 95.52 billion in the previous month, due to decline in sales of precious metals and stones (-30 percent); vehicles and transport equipment (-10 percent) and machinery and electronics (-6 percent). In contrast, exports increased for wood pulp and paper (66 percent); optical photographic product (36 percent). South Africa's major export destinations were China (7.7 percent of total exports), Germany (7.1 percent), the US (6 percent), Namibia (5.3 percent) and Botswana (5.2 percent).
Imports increased by ZAR 8.31 billion or 9.2 percent to ZAR 98.8 billion in August from ZAR 90.48 billion in the previous month, as purchases went up for precious metals and stones (205 percent); vegetable products (29 percent); mineral products (24 percent); chemical products (11 percent) and machinery and electronics (5 percent). The main sources of imports to the country were China (17.6 percent of total imports), Germany (12 percent), the US (6.4 percent), Saudi Arabia (4.8 percent) and India (4.2 percent).
Since the beginning of 2016, the trade balance swung to a ZAR 35.1 billion deficit compared to ZAR 7.4 billion surplus a year earlier.
Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a ZAR 18 billion shortfall.