Steady growth in SA, BRICS trade


30 August 2012

Bilateral trade between South Africa and its BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China) partners grew substantially last year, powered by significant increases in trade and exports, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Davies said bilateral trade between South Africa and China last year grew by 32%, trade with India by 25%, and trade with Brazil by 20%.

Bilateral trade between South Africa and Russia also recovered in 2011, after a decline of 44% in 2010, but is still below the R4.2-billion in bilateral trade recorded between the two countries in 2008.

Bilateral trade with China last year totaled R188-billion, with India R55-billion, with Brazil R18-billion, and with Russia R3.8-billion.

The recovery in bilateral trade between South Africa and its BRICS partners follows increases in trade in 2010, after declining during the global economic crisis in 2008 and 2009.

South African exports to China grew the most – at 46% – while exports to India grew by 20%, to Brazil by 14%, and to Russia by 7%.

Davies said SA exports to China have grown rapidly after increases of 20% in 2010 and 42% in 2009.

In terms of balance of trade, South Africa has run a trade surplus with Russia in the last two years of R1.3-billion and R1-billion respectively, after running trade deficits in 2008 and 2009.

While South Africa has continued to run a trade deficit with China over the last four years, that deficit has narrowed by over 50%, from R48-billion in 2008 to less than R18-billion in 2011.

South Africa’s trade deficit with Brazil also narrowed last year, to R6.1-billion – almost R2.5-billion less than the deficit recorded in 2008.

However, after running trade surpluses with India of R2.5-billion in 2009 and R1.5- billion in 2010, South Africa last year recorded a trade deficit of R4.9-billion.

Commenting on foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into South Africa, Davies said these had recovered last year to US$5.8-billion, about the same level as 2007 and up from $1.2-billion in 2010.

He said South Africa’s decline in FDI from $9-billion in 2008 was in line with aggregate figures for G20 countries that show that FDI flows have declined every year since 2007.