Export Tracker - Q3 2020


South Africa’s merchandise export performance bounced back in the third quarter of 2020, growing by 9.2% (year-on-year) and 40.2% from the previous quarter amounting to R388 billion, an impressive improvement from the historic slump experienced in the second quarter of 2020 as a result of the lockdown. The third quarter of 2020 saw the pace of decline in imports moderating to 19.6%, compared to the 26% decline in Q2 2020 (year-on-year), in constant rand terms. In US dollar terms, merchandise exports experienced a marginal decrease of 2.4% in Q3 2020 to US$22.9 billion, while imports dropped by 28.2% to US$16.4 billion from Q3 2019. South Africa continued on a positive trade balance, recording a sixth straight quarter surplus of R109 billion (US$6.5 billion) in the third quarter of 2020, the highest recorded over the observed period. This record trade surplus is mainly due to the impressive rebound in export demand as most economies reopened in the third quarter of 2020, easing restrictions on business activities, with imports still declining although at a slower pace.