South Africa’s trade, exports and imports are heavily dependent on the nation’s natural resources and the government’s highly liberal trade incentives. South Africa recorded a trade surplus of R3.7 billion in December 2009, according to the South African Revenue Service (SARS). The surplus resulted from a decrease in imports of 13.73% and a decrease in exports of 1.08%. In December, exports amounted to R45.36 billion and imports amounted to R41.69 billion resulting in a surplus of R3.67 billion. The cumulative trade deficit for 2009 was R25.84 billion. Compared to a deficit of R71.63 in 2008, this represents a decline of R45.79 billion or 64%.
South Africa Trade: Exports
South Africa’s primary export commodities include gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment. South Africa’s exports were worth $67.93 billion in 2009, down from $86.12 billion in 2008. The following chart shows the distribution of South Africa’s export partners. All data are in percentages.
South Africa: Imports
South Africa’s primary import commodities include machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, and food materials. South Africa’s imports were worth $70.24 billion in 2009, down from $90.57 billion in 2008. The following chart shows the distribution of South Africa’s import partners. All data are in percentages.
South Africa Trade: Exchange Rates
The following graph shows South Africa’s main currency, the Rand’s (ZAR) exchange rates in comparison to the US dollar during 2005-2009.