South Africa’s Exports Performance: Any Role for Structural Factors?


Rahul Anand ; Roberto Perrelli ; Boyang Zhang

Publication Date:

February 12, 2016

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate


Despite a substantial and prolonged exchange rate depreciation, South Africa’s export performance has disappointed since the global financial crisis. In this paper we focus on the role of structural factors in reducing the responsiveness of South African exports to the real exchange rate depreciation. To this end, we construct a unique database of export performance at the firm level. Our analysis suggests that electricity bottlenecks, limited product market competition, and labor market constraints have reduced the responsiveness of firms’ exports to the rand depreciation. On the other hand, a firm’s ability to diversify its exports has helped it benefit more from currency movements.


Working Paper No. 2016/024



Publication Date:

February 12, 2016



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