South Africa’s Top 10 Imports

South Africa's Top 10 Imports

by FlagPictures.org

South Africa imported US$83.2 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2017, down by -19.5% over the 5-year period starting in 2013 but up by 11.3% from 2016 to 2017.

South Africa’s top 10 imports accounted almost three-fifths (59.8%) 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 $16.054 trillion one year prior during 2016.

From a continental perspective, 44.7% of South Africa’s total imports by value in 2017 were purchased from Asian countries. European trade partners supplied 32.5% of import sales to South Africa while 10.3% worth originated from fellow African nations. North American exporters accounted for 7.6% of South Africa’s imports with just 3% coming from Latin America (excluding Mexico) plus the Caribbean.

Given South Africa’s population of 54.8 million people, its total $83.2 billion in 2017 imports translates to roughly $1,500 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 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into South Africa.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$12.3 billion (14.7% of total imports)
  2. Machinery including computers: $11 billion (13.2%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $8.5 billion (10.2%)
  4. Vehicles: $7.1 billion (8.5%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: $2.5 billion (3%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: $2.2 billion (2.7%)
  7. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2.1 billion (2.6%)
  8. Other chemical goods: $1.6 billion (1.9%)
  9. Organic chemicals: $1.3 billion (1.6%)
  10. Inorganic chemicals: $1.2 billion (1.5%)

Fastest-growing among the top 10 categories was inorganic chemicals which gained 27.2% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place was South African exported vehicles which appreciated 22.1% year over year trailed by mineral fuels including oil which rose 22% then pharmaceuticals via its 18.5% increase.

Fuel

In 2017, South African importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products:

  1. Crude oil: US$6.4 billion (down -1.8% from 2016)
  2. Processed petroleum oils: $4.4 billion (up 73.9%)
  3. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $478.3 million (up 134%)
  4. Petroleum gases: $328.1 million (up 22.4%)
  5. Coke, semi-coke: $252.1 million (up 52.8%)
  6. Electrical energy: $162.3 million (down -10.1%)
  7. Petroleum oil residues: $97.6 million (up 47%)
  8. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $41.1 million (down -15.3%)
  9. Tar pitch, coke: $16 million (up 65.5%)
  10. Peat: $6.3 million (up 7.9%)

Among these import subcategories, South African purchases of coal including solid fuels made from coal (up 134%), processed petroleum oils (up 73.9%) and tar pitch or coke (up 65.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

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

Machinery

In 2017, South African importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers:

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$1.6 billion (up 7.8% from 2016)
  2. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $712.9 million (up 67.7%)
  3. Printing machinery: $673.4 million (up 7.2%)
  4. Machinery parts: $565.1 million (up 15.3%)
  5. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $471.9 million (up 10.3%)
  6. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $405.5 million (up 0.9%)
  7. Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $380.2 million (up 18.2%)
  8. Liquid pumps and elevators: $377.7 million (up 7%)
  9. Miscellaneous machinery: $345.9 million (up 2.1%)
  10. Air or vacuum pumps: $313.5 million (up 1.6%)

Among these import subcategories, South African purchases of heavy machinery like bulldozers, excavators and road rollers (up 67.7%), transmission shafts, gears and clutches (up 18.2%) and machinery parts (up 15.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

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.

Electronics

In 2017, South African importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronics:

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$3.1 billion (up 5.1% from 2016)
  2. Electrical converters/power units: $462.7 million (up 24.7%)
  3. Electric generating sets, converters: $437.3 million (down -9.8%)
  4. Insulated wire/cable: $399 million (up 9.4%)
  5. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $365.6 million (up 2.7%)
  6. TV/radio/radar device parts: $302.6 million (up 6.2%)
  7. Unrecorded sound media: $279.8 million (up 9.6%)
  8. Electric motors, generators: $257.4 million (up 0.5%)
  9. Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $256.3 million (up 3.6%)
  10. Electric storage batteries: $216 million (up 39.2%)

Among these import subcategories, South African purchases of electric storage batteries (up 39.2%), electrical converters or power units (up 24.7%) and unrecorded sound media (up 9.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

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 2017, South African importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles:

  1. Cars: US$4 billion (up 21% from 2016)
  2. Automobile parts/accessories: $1.4 billion (up 6.7%)
  3. Trucks: $788 million (up 63.3%)
  4. Tractors: $333.3 million (up 53%)
  5. Public-transport vehicles: $108 million (up 12%)
  6. Motorcycles: $100.7 million (up 9%)
  7. Trailers: $98.9 million (up 33.5%)
  8. Motorcycle parts/accessories: $60.1 million (up 3.1%)
  9. Special purpose vehicles: $56.1 million (up 5.4%)
  10. Armored vehicles, tanks: $43 million (up 47.3%)

Among these import subcategories, South African purchases of trucks (up 63.3%), tractors (up 53%) and armored vehicles and tanks (up 47.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

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, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 9, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on February 9, 2018