South Africa’s Balance of Trade 2019

4 February 2020 – Balance of Trade in South Africa averaged R135.30-million from 1957 until 2019, reaching an all-time high of R17088.51-million in May of 2016 and a record low of R-26858.61-million in January of 2018.

In December 2019, trade surplus rose to R14.8- billion from a downwardly revised R5.6-billion in November and overshooting market estimates of a R12-billion surplus. It was the widest monthly trade surplus since December 2018, as imports tumbled 20.1% to R88.5-billion, amid lower purchases of machinery and electronics (-23%); original equipment components (-43%); vehicles and transport equipment (-22%); chemicals (-19%) and base metals (-39%).

Main import partners were China (16.9% of total acquisitions) and Germany (7.4%). Meanwhile, exports slid 11.2% to R103.3-billion, as sales fell for vehicles and transport equipment (-50%); machinery and electronics (-16%); base metals (-6%) and precious metals and stones (-3%). The only exception was recorded for vegetable products (17%). Main export partners were China (11% of total sales) and the US (7.5%). In 2019, the trade surplus rose to R24.7-billion, the highest value in two years, from R15.2-billion in 2018.


The balance of trade is expected to be R6500.00-million by the end of quarter one 2020 and stand at R-1258.00-million in 12 months. It is also projected to trend around R20700.00-million in 2020. Source (Trade economics SA)