The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
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.