Africa remained South Africa’s largest market, accounting for 44% of agricultural exports – which is 9% below the 5-year average share. The EU accounted for 26% of South Africa’s agricultural exports in 2016, with Asia taking up 22%. Americas and the rest of the world (ROW) accounted for 5% and 3%, respectively.
Despite the worst drought in more than a decade, the South Africa’s agricultural sector recorded a positive trade balance of US$2.3 billion in 2016. This was boosted by growth in exports of edible fruits, beverages, spirits and vegetables, with the total agricultural export value amounting to US$8.6 billion, up 6% from 2015. These products are mainly grown in the Western Cape province, which was not as severely affected by the 2016 drought as the rest of the country. Meanwhile, imports also increased by 26% y/y reaching US$6.3 billion – driven by a notable uptick in grain imports on the back of the drought.
Looking ahead – Given the recovery in agricultural production, we expect the South African agricultural trade balance to remain positive in 2017. This will essentially support the country’s current account.
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