Exports declined by ZAR 10.97 billion, or 11.1 percent, to ZAR 88.19 billion from ZAR 99.16 billion in September, dragged by lower sales of vegetable products (-48 percent), precious metals and stones (-25 percent), vehicles and transport equipment (-10 percent), chemical products (-7 percent) and mineral products (-2 percent). South African exports major destinations were China (8.9 percent of total exports), the US (7.4 percent), Germany (7.1 percent), Botswana (5.5 percent) and Japan (5.4 percent).
Imports rose by ZAR 0.39 billion, or 0.4 percent, to ZAR 92.60 billion from ZAR 92.21 billion the previous month, as purchases went up for mineral products (+5 percent), machinery and electronics (+5 percent) and chemical products (+4 percent). Meanwhile imports fell for vegetable products (-26 percent) and vehicles and transport equipment (-5 percent). The main sources of imports to the country were China (21 percent of total imports), Germany (11.6 percent), the US (6 percent), India (4.1 percent) and Japan (3.7 percent).
Considering the first ten months of 2016, the trade deficit shrank to ZAR 14.35 billion compared to ZAR 59.50 billion the same period a year earlier, as exports went up 5.6 percent and imports grew at a much slower 0.3 percent.
Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a trade balance deficit of ZAR 13.92 billion in October.