South Africa was Australia’s 27th largest trading partner in 2016. Export receipts of goods from South Africa totalled A$1b in 2016, down 20% from 2015. Australia’s main exports to South Africa include aluminium and coal. Imports reached A$1.7b, little changed from a year earlier, driven by cars. BMW and Mercedes are some of the luxury car producers that have assembly plants in South Africa. South Africa is the largest producer of platinum and second largest producer of palladium, after Russia; both metals are used in catalytic converters. The country also produces significant amounts of gold.
Australia exported A$313m of services in 2016, most of which were travel related. South Africa isn’t a major source of tourists, accounting for <1% of all arrivals in 2016.
Bilateral investment between South Africa and Australia is broadly in line with trade relations. Australian investment in South Africa is centred on mining in the north-east. Rio Tinto extracts titanium dioxide and pig iron. BHP Billiton mines aluminium and coal.