South Africa is a mineral-rich country with a rich export history and trading partners all around the world. Generally, the top exports of the country are all precious metals. They include gold valued at about USD 17.8 billion, followed by diamond exports that add up to around USD 9.38 billion, and titanium valued at USD 9.14 billion. However, South Africa is also known for its non-metal exports. These include cars that add up to USD 6.8 billion and coal briquettes valued at USD 6.78 billion.  

South Africa mainly exports mineral products with it being 25.1 per cent of its total exports. They constitute chrome, manganese, vanadium, vermiculite, ilmenite, palladium, rutile and zirconium, crude, and coal. South Africa also export precious metals like gold, platinum, diamonds, and jewellery. These make up 16.7 per cent of their exports. Vehicles and machinery and iron and sell products make up 11.9 per cent each. Their other, smaller exports, include machinery, chemicals, and vegetables.  

Their main export partners are China, the United States, Germany, India, Japan, and Botswana. Their smaller export partners include Nambia, the Uk, Mozambique, and the Netherlands.  

In the year of the pandemic, South Africa had a hard time managing the effects of their lockdowns with economic costs. In 2019, South Africa’s total export values were USD 89 billion. It is no surprise that the figures for 2020 don’t quite come close to matching up.  

So, let’s look at South Africa’s top exports in 2020.   

Iron and Steel 

Every country needs iron and steel. So, needless to say, South Africa’s international market is considerably large. With an increasing need for countries to build new infrastructure during the pandemic, everyone wants the high-end iron and steel materials they produce. Thus, the export value of these materials come up to 5895062.72 ZAR THO in 2020.  

Precious Metals  

You wouldn’t think people would demand precious metals when we’re dealing with the largest pandemic we have ever experienced. Who would want silver or gold when we can’t go outside, right? But South Africa’s exports tell a different story. In 2020, they exported 34224.95 ZAR THO worth of materials. These figures are also much higher than in 2019.  

Mineral Products  

Mineral products are a necessity. And with South Africa being a leading exporter, the values show that, even with COVID-19, they have 29175.53 ZAR Million worth of mineral products. Again, these figures surpass those of 2019, as well.  

Base Metals and Base Metal Articles  

To change things up a little bit, South Africa’s exports of base metals went down in 2020. They went down from 2626.97 ZAR Million to 10635.75 as of November 2020.  

Chemical and Allied Industries Products 

Chemical exports make up around 8 per cent of South Africa’s total exports. For the year 2020, they added up to 7486.96 ZAR Million. In fact, they have gone up since 2019 (cheers, keep going, South Africa?)