The South Africa Ministry of Trade and Industry just released data showing that China is now the nation’s top country trading partner. The top regional partner is still the European Union, but the single country with the largest trade volume is China. Exports to China from January to June 2009 were 27.6 billion rand (3.6 billion USD). Exports to the US during the same period were 19.1 billion rand (2.51 billion USD).
Investment has been flowing in to countries across the continent; increased Chinese trade with Africa is not a new story. It’s interesting, though, to see that the financial crisis isn’t affecting the trend. US important from South Africa are way down – in 2008, South Africa exported 66.5 billion rand to the U.S., well over any predictions for 2009. So the U.S. is shrinking imports from South Africa, but China isn’t. I’m unfortunately not an economist, because I’d love to know why.