Top South African Trading Partners
October 10, 2019 by Daniel Workman
Plettenberg Bay red skyFormerly called Zuid-Afrika, South Africa continues to battle international trade constraints presented by its geographic location notably in relation to distant South African trading partners like China, Germany and the United States.
Overall, South Africa shipped US$94.4 billion worth of products around the globe in 2018. Up 7% since 2017, that dollar figure represents roughly one half of one percent of all global exports estimated at $17.546 trillion for 2017 as calculated on February 3, 2019.
From a continental perspective, 31.3% of South African exports by value are delivered to Asian importers while 26.5% are sold to fellow African countries. South Africa ships 25.4% worth of its goods to Europe.
Smaller percentages were delivered to North America (7.4%), Latin America (1.1%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, plus Oceania (also 1.1%) led by Australia.
Below is a list showcasing 15 of South Africa’s top trading partners in terms of its export sales. That is, countries that imported the most South African shipments by dollar value during 2018. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total South African exports.
- China: US$8.7 billion (9.2% of South Africa’s total exports)
- Germany: $7.1 billion (7.5%)
- United States: $6.4 billion (6.8%)
- United Kingdom: $4.8 billion (5.1%)
- Japan: $4.5 billion (4.7%)
- India: $4.5 billion (4.7%)
- Botswana: $4.1 billion (4.3%)
- Namibia: $3.6 billion (3.8%)
- Mozambique: $3.3 billion (3.4%)
- Netherlands: $3.1 billion (3.3%)
- Belgium: $2.4 billion (2.6%)
- Zambia: $2.4 billion (2.6%)
- Zimbabwe: $2.3 billion (2.5%)
- South Korea: $1.9 billion (2%)
- United Arab Emirates: $1.8 billion (1.9%)
Almost two-thirds (64.4%) of South African exports in 2018 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
From the above list, the fastest-growing importing countries from 2017 to 2018 were the United Kingdom (up 37.5%), Germany (up 22.4%), Mozambique (up 12.6%), the Netherlands (up 12.2%) then Zimbabwe (up 12%).