Zim’s trade deficit continues to widen: Zimstats

via Zim’s trade deficit continues to widen: Zimstats | The Herald April 24, 2015

Zimbabwe’s trade deficit with key trading partners continues to widen as the country’s exports for March declined by 27,6 percent to $188,7 million from $260,7 million recorded in the prior month, latest Zimstats data has shown.

For the three months to March 2015 Zimbabwe’s total exports were valued at $716,6 million while the country imports were $1,6 billion as the country recorded a cumulative $853,6 million trade deficit for the first quarter. In the same comparable period in 2014 the country’s trade deficit was $839,4million.

These latest figures show that the country’s balance of payments situation has been getting worse year on year as the economy continues to over rely on imports to quench domestic demand of goods and services. The continued collapse of local companies and the strong US dollar as a result of resurgent in the US economy are the main reasons why the country’s import bill continues to grow year-on-year.

The huge decline in exports for March came as a result of reduced export figures for tobacco which saw the country exporting tobacco valued at $10,8 million down 90,6 percent from $115,2 million recorded in February.

Traditionally over the years tobacco exports usually pick in January then decline in March and pick up again in April; however this is the first time the drop in the tobacco export figures has been this high.

Overall the trade deficit for March was $340,2 million as the country imported goods and services valued at $529 million against total exports of $188,7 million. Exports grew 20,6 percent from the same period last year. The growth in export figures year on year came as a result of an improvement in the extractive sector which registered marginal growth in gold, nickel, diamonds, and other natural resources.

South Africa continues to be the leading trading partner with total trade between the two countries for March 2015 being valued at $332,7 million with Zimbabwe continuing to be in deficit with its neighbour.

South African imports were valued at $114,3 million while exports to Zimbabwe were at $218 million.

After South Africa the next leading export destination was Mozambique which imported Zimbabwean goods and services valued at $26,1 million followed by the United Arab Emirates with $19 million; Israel at $9,4 million and Zambia at $9,1 million.

The Chinese export market continues to disappoint with exports to the Asian country from Zimbabwe being registered at $47 000.

China which is the second largest economy in the world and with significant investments in Zimbabwe continues to enjoy a trade surplus with Zimbabwe of $36,6 million after Zimbabwe imported goods and services valued at $36,7 million from the Asian country.

Outside of South Africa the leading import market for Zimbabwe was Singapore as Zimbabwe imports from the Asian country were valued at $112 million. This was followed by China, India, Mozambique, Zambia and Japan with imports valued at $36,7 million, $22,3 million, $15,4 million, $14,3 million and $11,million respectively.

Fuels including lubes and motor vehicles remain the biggest imports while the country continues to be a major exporter of minerals. Analysts argue that if successful, Government’s drive to promote local beneficiation of minerals will see an improvement in the country’s net trading position. — Wires.