Not the ‘new gold’
Mining still the biggest
MUCH HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT the automotive industry being SA’s “new gold”, yet the industry contributes nowhere near as much to the economy as the riches we dig from the ground.
Although mining as a whole accounts for around 6% of GDP compared to roughly 7% of GDP for the automotive sector, the former is still a much larger earner of foreign exchange.
For example, precious metals accounted for 26,9% of SA’s total exports last year and raked in R109bn for the economy. Similarly, base metals accounted for 17% of total exports with earnings of R68bn while mineral products, mainly coal, accounted for 13,8% of total exports and earned R56,8bn. By contrast, transport equipment exports accounted for just 9,6% of exports and earned R38bn compared to transport equipment imports totalling R52bn. That leaves a trade deficit of R14bn for the sector.
What’s more, according to the DTI the average local content of exported vehicles was just 39% last year, marginally better than the 37% figure for the preceding two years. That takes some of the gloss off of total aggregate vehicle exports, which totalled 179 859 in 2006.