Imports decline 18 percent in six months – ZimStat

Source: Imports decline 18 percent in six months – ZimStat | The Financial Gazette July 26, 2016

TOTAL imports for the half year to June 2016 amounted to us$2, 5 billion, a decline of 18 percent from US$3 billion 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 percent to US$430,6 million compared to US$408,4 million 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 US$967,7 million in the six months, but month on month, there was a 4,23 percene decline to US$169,6 million compared to US$177,1 million 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 US$43,9 million and crude soya oil at US$52,3 million.

In the period, diesel imports amounted to US$391, 4 million while electricity energy imports were at US$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 US$1,1 billion an increase from US$984 million in May. The major exports remained primary commodities although there is a current push to beneficiate raw materials in the country.  Gold at US$358,9 million accounted for the bulk of exports followed by Nickel at US$128,4 million. Diamonds, ferrochrome, and platinum were exported at US$66,1 million, US$39,8 million and US$22 million respectively.

Meanwhile, trade deficit narrowed to US$1,4 billion as total imports amounted to US$2,5 billion against exports of US$1,1 billon. FinX