South Africa’s Export Prices Drop 1.9% Annually, Import Prices Rise 3.3%

  • Export prices in South Africa decreased by 1.9% annually in April 2024.
  • Import prices saw a 3.3% annual increase during the same period.
  • Crude petroleum was a significant contributor to the rise in import prices.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has released the latest data on export and import unit value indices (UVI) for April 2024, revealing a complex landscape for the country’s trade. The findings highlight divergent trends in the prices of exported and imported goods.

Export Indices Decline Annually, Rise Monthly

The UVI for exported commodities registered an annual decline of 1.9% in April 2024 compared to the same month last year. This downturn was driven primarily by a significant drop in the prices of ores and minerals, which fell by 2.7 percentage points, and metal products, machinery, and equipment, which decreased by 0.8 percentage points.

However, the monthly data presents a more positive picture. From March 2024 to April 2024, the UVI for exports increased by 1.6%. This growth was largely fueled by a 1.0 percentage point rise in the prices of ores and minerals.

Import Indices Show Annual Growth, Modest Monthly Increase

In contrast, the UVI for imported commodities exhibited a healthy annual increase of 3.3% in April 2024. This growth was significantly influenced by rising prices in crude petroleum, contributing 1.9 percentage points, and food products, which added 0.9 percentage points to the overall increase.

On a month-to-month basis, the import UVI experienced a modest rise of 0.3% from March 2024 to April 2024, again driven by crude petroleum, which accounted for a 0.3 percentage point increase.

Key Figures and Analytical Insights

Key figures from the report indicate varied performance across different sectors. The export UVI stood at 121.9 in April 2024, up from 120.0 in March 2024 but down from 124.3 in April 2023. Meanwhile, the import UVI rose to 138.9 in April 2024 from 138.5 in March 2024 and 134.4 in April 2023.

Excluding gold, the export UVI saw a sharper annual decline of 2.8%, though it rose by 1.6% month-on-month. Imports excluding crude petroleum grew by 1.8% annually but saw a slight monthly decrease of 0.1%.

Sector-Specific Developments

  • Exports:
    • Agriculture exports rose by 6.8% annually but fell by 1.8% monthly.
    • Ores and minerals declined by 8.4% annually but increased by 3.3% monthly.
    • Metal products, machinery, and equipment saw a 2.0% annual decrease but a 0.7% monthly increase.
  • Imports:
    • Crude petroleum imports surged by 19.9% annually and 3.1% monthly.
    • Food products imports increased by 15.2% annually and 1.5% monthly.
    • Clothing and footwear imports grew by 3.0% annually and 1.3% monthly.

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