Zim grows exports by 9% in 2 months to February, but challenges remain
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s exports in the two months to February rose almost 9% at $499.1 million but the country remained with a trade deficit of $309.7 million. Latest data from ZimStat shows that exports rose 8.8% from $458.72 million in the same period last year, driven mainly by an increase in primary industrial supplies. Imports in the period were down a marginal 1.7% to 808.8 million resulting in a narrowed trade deficit.
Zimbabwe’s trade deficit widened in the month of February as exports dipped 7.3 percent with imports surging by 10 percent. The country’s negative trade balance worsened from $125.9 million in January to $183.7 million last month.
Zimstat / FinX
Exports for the month of February declined to $240 million, from $258.6 million in January, largely because of a marked drop in the export of flue-cured tobacco from $99 million in January to $74 million last month. Nickel mattes also contributed to the decline, as export of the product decreased to $1 million from $6.3 million in the prior month. Diamonds however showed some improvement, with exports rising from $8.5 million to $12.3 million. Other sugar cane exports also surged 698 percent to $4.9 million.
Exports to South Africa declined 14 percent to $185 million, with those to Mozambique declining 12 percent to $21 million, while Botswana remained flat. A marked decline was also noted on exports to Belgium which were zero in February, from $5.6 million in January. However, increases were realised on exports to Zambia (32%), the United Arab Emirates (154%), with exports to Kenya rising from $870 to $4.8 million in February.
The volume of re-exports also rose 303 percent to $2.8 million, the highest so far in more than 15 months. These are goods imported into the country and are then exported out of the country without undergoing any value addition process locally. Some might be taking advantage of products from preferential trade zones to import them duty free and then export them to other countries for profit.
Imports for the month of February increased to $183.7 million from $125.9 million in the prior month, on the back of increased importation of fuels. Unleaded petrol importation increased by 64 percent to 41.1 million, with diesel also surging 47 percent to $74 million.
In bilateral trade, imports from China declined sharply from $58 million to $32 million, with declines also realised in Denmark (65%) and Mauritius (61%). However, imports from South Africa intensified from $145 million in January to $171 million last month; with those from Singapore also rising 62 percent to $112.5 million. Import increases were also realised with UK (68%) and India (30%).