Total imports for the half year to June 2016 amounted to $2. 496 bln, a decline of 18% from $3.06 bln in the same period prior year and this can largely be related to various import control measures that government has implemented in the year to date.
According to the latest data released by ZimStat, imports for the month of June however increased by 5.43% to $430.6 mln compared to $408.4 mln in May, largely driven by maize imports.
Only last month, government introduced import controls through Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 which was gazetted featuring products drawn across industry. The SI removed various goods from the general import licence and coupled with other measures on raw materials and the weak South African Rand weighed down overall imports for the period.
Imports from South Africa, the country’s largest trading partner reached $967.7 mln in the six months, but month on month, there was a 4.23% decline to $169.6 mln compared to $177.1 mln in May.
Analysts are content that the import pattern will show further decline as SI 64, comes into full operation since when it was operationalised on June 1, 2016, some goods were already in transit.
According to the ZimStat data, the country imported wheat worth $43.9 million and crude soya oil at $52.3 million.
In the period, diesel imports amounted to $391, 4 mln while electricity energy imports were at $57.7 million as Zesa seeks to curtail load shedding.
Apart from South Africa, bulk imports were also from China at $190.5 million followed by Zambia at $96.1 million. Imports from Zambia were mainly of maize.
Exports totalled $1.124 bln an increase from $984 mln in May. The major exports remained primary commodities although there is a current push to beneficiate raw materials in the country. Gold at $358.9 mln accounted for the bulk of exports followed by Nickel at $128.4 mln. Diamonds, ferrochrome, and platinum were exported at $66.1 mln, $39.8 mln and $22 mln respectively.
Meanwhile, trade deficit narrowed to $1.37 billion as total imports amounted to $2.5 bln against exports of $1.1 bln.