South Africa: Current account, percent of GDP

* indicates monthly or quarterly data series
 South Africa

Current account balance as percent of GDP

 Latest value -1.60
 Year 2023
 Measure percent
 Data availability 1960 - 2023
 Average -1.14
 Min - Max -7.30 - 5.80
 Source South African Reserve Bank
For that indicator, we provide data for South Africa from 1960 to 2023. The average value for South Africa during that period was -1.14 percent with a minimum of -7.3 percent in 1971 and a maximum of 5.8 percent in 1987. The latest value from 2023 is -1.6 percent. For comparison, the world average in 2023 based on 82 countries is -1.35 percent. See the global rankings for that indicator or use the country comparator to compare trends over time.
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* indicates monthly or quarterly data series

Recent values chart
South Africa - Current account, percent of GDP - Recent values chart

Historical chart
South Africa - Current account, percent of GDP - historical chart - 1960-2023

The current account of South Africa and other countries has three components: 1) the exports of goods and services minus the imports of goods and services; 2) the difference of incomes that countries pay to each other; and 3) the difference in transfers that countries make to each other. Current account deficits are reported with a minus sign and surpluses are reported with a plus sign.

A current account deficit means that the country needs to find financing for its imports. The foreign currencies it receives from selling products abroad are not enough to pay for the products it wants to buy from other countries. The needed amounts of foreign currencies can be obtained by, for example, borrowing. For instance, in the last several years the U.S. has been borrowing money from China in order to buy Chinese products.

This is not necessarily a problem. The current account deficit starts to be a problem if it exceeds 3-4 percent of GDP for many years. Over that time, the country accumulates a significant amount of foreign debt that eventually has to be repaid.
Definition: Current account balance is the sum of net exports of goods and services, net primary income, and net secondary income.

 Related indicators Latest value Reference Measure
 Terms of trade 128.32 2021 percent
 Trade openness 65.06 2022 percent
 Financial openness -1.242 2021 index points
 Exports, percent of GDP 33.54 2022 percent
 Exports, billion dollars 135.92 2022 billion U.S. dollars
 Growth of exports 7.39 2022 percent
 Imports, percent of GDP 31.52 2022 percent
 Imports, billion dollars 127.75 2022 billion U.S. dollars
 Foreign Direct Investment, percent of GDP 2.27 2022 percent
 Foreign Direct Investment, billion dollars 9.19 2022 billion U.S. dollars
 Portfolio investment inflows, equities 1,029.82 2022 million dollars (current)
 Current account, percent of GDP -1.60 2023 percent
 Current account, in dollars -1.70 2022 billion U.S. dollars
 Trade balance, percent of GDP 2.02 2022 percent
 Trade balance, in dollars 8.52 2022 billion U.S. dollars
 Reserves 60.55 2022 billion U.S. dollars
 Remittances, percent of GDP 0.22 2022 percent
 Remittances 872.86 2022 million U.S. dollars
 Net errors and omissions -445.67 2022 million USD
 External debt 43.38 2022 percent
 Short-term external debt 24.95 2022 percent
 Short-term debt to reserves 70.93 2022 percent
 Foreign exchange reserves 1,152.50 9/2023 billion
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