The rand, divided into 100 cents, is the basic unit of currency (7 rand equal U.S.$1; 2007 average). The South African Reserve Bank in Pretoria, founded in 1920, is responsible for formulating and implementing monetary policy, overseeing the banking system, and issuing the currency. There are numerous commercial, savings, and investment banks, and electronic banking services are well developed. There is an organized money and capital market that includes the JSE Securities Exchange (formerly named Johannesburg Stock Exchange) and related brokerage activities.
In 2007 South Africa’s total exports were worth $69.8 billion and imports $81.7 billion. The major exports were gold, iron and steel, coal, chemicals, automobiles and other transport equipment, and food products. South Africa is a net exporter of farm products, especially maize, sugar, fruit, vegetables, and wine, but the country experiences substantial variations in production because of recurring drought. Imports consist mainly of machinery and equipment, motor vehicle parts, chemicals, and crude oil.
Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Saudi Arabia are the leading suppliers of imported goods. Chief purchasers of South Africa’s exports are the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Italy. Trade with the rest of Africa grew even in the final years of apartheid and has increased considerably since 1994. Most of South Africa’s exports to Africa are to the other countries of the Southern African Customs Union (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland). In 1994, after restoring normal relations with other African countries, South Africa joined the Southern African Development Community. "South Africa" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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