The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper

South Africa

South Africa Records R14.1 Billion Trade Surplus in December 2023

Michael Hawthorne

South Africa closed out 2023 on a positive note, achieving a trade surplus of R14.1 billion in December. This surplus was driven by exports totalling R164.0 billion and imports amounting to R149.9 billion, including trade with Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, and Namibia (BELN).

Yearly Overview

For the entire year of 2023 (from January to December), South Africa maintained a trade surplus of R61.0 billion. However, it’s worth noting that this figure represents a decline from the R192.0 billion surplus recorded during the same period in 2022.

Year-on-Year Analysis

Comparing December 2023 to the previous year, export flows increased by 0.9%, reaching R164.0 billion, while import flows decreased by 5.0%, dropping from R157.8 billion in December 2022 to R149.9 billion in December 2023.

Month-to-Month Changes

Looking at the month-to-month changes between November and December 2023, exports declined by R21.4 billion (-11.5%) from R185.3 billion to R164.0 billion. Imports also saw a decrease of R14.9 billion (-9.0%) from R164.8 billion to R149.9 billion over the same period.

Factors Behind the Changes

The decrease in exports for December was influenced by lower sales of Gold, Platinum, and Vehicles (Goods). On the import side, the value dropped due to substantial decreases in the importation of Original Equipment Components, Crude Oil, and Wheat and Meslin.

Important Adjustment

It’s important to note that the initially reported trade surplus of R21.0 billion for November 2023 was later revised downwards by R0.5 billion, resulting in a final figure of R20.5 billion. This adjustment is due to ongoing Vouchers of Correction (VOCs).

In summary, South Africa’s trade balance remains positive, indicating healthy economic activity. While the yearly surplus is commendable, it’s essential to monitor trends and factors affecting our international trade.

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