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South AFrica: Exports to the US 'Surge'

Published date:
Tuesday, 18 January 2005

Johannesburg - An analysis of South Africa's trade with the US in November 2004 by the South African Chamber of Business (Sacob) showed a 61.1% year-on-year (y/y) surge in exports to $526.6m.

The November 2004 total is 11.8% below the record $597.168m reached in June 2004, but is still nevertheless the sixth highest.

Exports for the first 11 months are up 19.61% y/y to $5.342bn and 39.5% above the first 11 months of 2002, despite a 15% strengthening against the dollar in 2004 compared with 2003 and a 39% gain compared with 2002's average.

This shows once again that it is not rand weakness, but rather overseas demand, which drives South African exports.

In 2000, when South African exports to the US were $4.2bn, the rand averaged R6.94 per dollar.

In 2001, when the rand depreciated by 24% against the dollar, there was a marginal 5.4% rise in exports to the US, whereas in 2002, when the US was in disbelief mode after the 9/11 terror attacks, and the rand was 22% weaker, exports to the US fell by 4.4%.

Precious metals and diamonds dominate exports to the US and at just over $2.35bn in the first 11 months are up 29.2% y/y, and account for 44% of total exports.

Iron & steel exports have doubled (up 119.0% y/y) to $644.998m, while vehicles, parts and accessories have eased by 23.2% y/y to $530m.

Imports from the US declined in November and were down 17% y/y to $260.76m.

The trade balance is in South Africa's favour and was $266m in September.

The surplus in the first 11 months was 24.2% higher than the same period last year, and at $2.456bn exceeded last year's full year total of $2.068bn. And is more than double the 2000 full year total of only $1.119bn.

“AGOA Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of South Africa’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.

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