The second quarter of 2020 saw a strong decline in exports, combined with an even stronger slump in imports as international trade slowed down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several sectors, however, particularly agriculture and parts of mining, were able to increase exports over the quarter. Stringent COVID-19 containment measures implemented in most countries led to the plummeting of merchandise trade, with the “Great Lockdown” seeing South Africa through a five-week, hard nationwide lockdown in the second quarter of 2020. Exports dropped by 32.5% in US dollar terms, while imports plunged to US$14 billion in the second quarter of 2020, down by 39.2% from the same period last year. However, because of the depreciation of the rand, the decline in both exports and imports in rand terms was a little lower compared to the decline in dollar terms – with rand exports down by 17.6%, and imports by 25.9%.
Media Release: Growth in SA exports to China