How applicable is export-led growth and import-led growth hypotheses to South African economy? The VECM and causality approach

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 17
  • SDG 8
  • Abstract:

    This paper investigated exports, imports and the economic growth nexus in the context of South Africa. The paper sets out to examine if long-run and causal relationships exist between these variables. Quarterly time series data ranging between 1998 and 2013 obtained from the South African Reserve Bank and Quantec databases was employed. Initial data analysis proved that the variables are integrated at their levels. The results further indicated that exports, imports and economic growth are co-integrated, confirming an existence of a long-run equilibrium relationship. Granger causal results were shown running from exports and imports to GDP and from imports to exports, validating export-led and import-led growth hypotheses in South Africa. A significant causality running from imports to exports, suggests that South Africa imported finished goods in excess. If this is not avoided, lots of problems could be caused. A suggestion was made to avoid such problematic issues as they may lead to replaced domestic output and displacement of employees. Another dreadful ramification may be an adverse effect on the economy which may further be experienced in the long-run.