South Africa’s Top 10 Imports

South Africa's Top 10 Imports

by FlagPictures.org

South Africa imported US$74.7 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2016, up by 17.2% since 2009 but down by -6.1% from 2015 to 2016.

South Africa’s top 10 imports accounted almost three-fifths (59.2%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

South African imports represent 0.5% of total global imports which totaled an estimated $16.473 trillion for 2015.

From a continental perspective, 43.4% of South Africa’s total imports by value in 2016 were purchased from Asian countries. European trade partners supplied 32.6% of import sales to South Africa while 10.7% worth originated from fellow African nations. North American exporters accounted for 7.9% of South Africa’s imports.

Given South Africa ‘s population of 54.3 million people, its total $74.7 billion in 2016 imports translates to roughly $1,400 in yearly product demand from every person in the country.

South Africa’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in South Africa’s import purchases during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into South Africa.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$10.2 billion (13.7% of total imports)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: $10 billion (13.4%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $8.1 billion (10.8%)
  4. Vehicles : $5.8 billion (7.7%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: $2.2 billion (3%)
  6. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2 billion (2.7%)
  7. Pharmaceuticals: $1.9 billion (2.5%)
  8. Cereals: $1.4 billion (1.8%)
  9. Other chemical goods: $1.4 billion (1.8%)
  10. Organic chemicals: $1.2 billion (1.6%)

Fastest-growing among the top 10 categories was cereals which gained 82.5% in value led by imported corn, rice and wheat.

In second place was plastics which appreciated 45.5% over the 7-year period, followed by miscellaneous chemical goods which rose (up 35.9%) and imported vehicles (up 26.3%).

The only declining category was mineral fuels including oil which dropped -26.5% since 2009.

Machinery

In 2016, South African importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery:

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$1.5 billion (up 22.5%)
  2. Printing machinery: $627.9 million (down -15.8%)
  3. Machinery parts: $490.1 million (up 16.7%)
  4. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $427.9 million (up 34.7%)
  5. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $425 million (up 7.9%)
  6. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $402 million (up 33.2%)
  7. Liquid pumps and elevators: $353 million (up 36.7%)
  8. Miscellaneous machinery: $338.9 million (up 9.8%)
  9. Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $321.6 million (up 1.3%)
  10. Air or vacuum pumps: $308.7 million (up 10.4%)

Among these import subcategories, South African purchases of liquid pumps and elevators (up 36.7%), centrifuges, filters and purifiers (up 34.7%) and taps, valves or similar appliances (up 33.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2009 to 2016.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among South African businesses and consumers.

Fuel

In 2016, South African importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of energy-related products:

  1. Crude oil: US$6.5 billion (down -36.5%)
  2. Processed petroleum oils: $2.6 billion (up 3.8%)
  3. Petroleum gases: $268.1 million (up 92%)
  4. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $204.4 million (up 22.1%)
  5. Electrical energy: $180.5 million (down -13.5%)
  6. Coke, semi-coke: $165 million (down -15.5%)
  7. Petroleum oil residues: $66.4 million (down -47.3%)
  8. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $48.6 million (up 8.6%)
  9. Tar pitch, coke: $9.7 million (down -36.8%)
  10. Peat: $5.8 million (up 84.2%)

Among these import subcategories, South African purchases of petroleum gases (up 92%), peat (up 84.2%) and coal and solid fuels made from coal (up 22.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2009 to 2016.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of fossil fuel-related imports among South African businesses and consumers.

Electronics

In 2016, South African importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronics:

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$3 billion (up 38.1%)
  2. Electric generating sets, converters: $484.8 million (up 91.4%)
  3. Electrical converters/power units: $371 million (down -18.3%)
  4. Insulated wire/cable: $364.6 million (up 87.4%)
  5. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $356.1 million (up 27.4%)
  6. TV/radio/radar device parts: $284.8 million (up 63.5%)
  7. Electric motors, generators: $256.2 million (up 22.4%)
  8. Unrecorded sound media: $255.4 million (down -36.7%)
  9. Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $247.3 million (up 27.7%)
  10. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $233.2 million (up 65.5%)

Among these import subcategories, South African purchases of electric generating sets and converters (up 91.4%), insulated wire or cable (up 87.4%) and solar power diodes and semi-conductors (up 65.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2009 to 2016.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among South African businesses and consumers.

Vehicles

In 2016, South African importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles:

  1. Cars: US$3.3 billion (up 43.1%)
  2. Automobile parts/accessories: $1.3 billion (up 34.2%)
  3. Trucks: $482.4 million (up 21.4%)
  4. Tractors: $217.8 million (down -18.4%)
  5. Public-transport vehicles: $96.4 million (down -60.8%)
  6. Motorcycles: $92.4 million (down -8.9%)
  7. Trailers: $74.1 million (up 46.3%)
  8. Motorcycle parts/accessories: $58.3 million (up 10.2%)
  9. Special purpose vehicles: $53.2 million (down -45.5%)
  10. Armored vehicles, tanks: $29.2 million (up 25.5%)

Among these import subcategories, South African purchases of trailers (up 46.3%), cars (up 43.1%) and automobile parts and accessories (up 34.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2009 to 2016.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among South African businesses and consumers.









 
See also South Africa’s Top 10 Exports and Top South African Trading Partners

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 9, 2017

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 9, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on February 9, 2017