The continuous growth in the country’s exports has seen the trade deficit falling significantly, in a move that should ease pressure on foreign currency leaks at a time when government is aggressively targeting to stabilise liquidity.
Data for the first eight months of the year released by Zimstats today show that exports increased 47 percent to $2,23 billion compared to $1,51 billion during the same period last year.
Imports increased modestly by 6.99 percent to $3.57 billion between January and August 2017 compared to the $3,33 billion recorded during the same period in the prior year.
Accordingly, the country’s trade deficit contracted 26.6 percent to $1,34 billion, from the $1,82 billion registered during the first eight months of last year.
This translates to foreign currency savings of $486 million. While Zimbabwe’s exports are still lower than its imports, there is scope in growing them to levels where the country can actually start accruing surpluses, if government expedites some of the ease of doing business measures and enhance support to the manufacturing sector to ensure sustainable trade.
There was a huge decline of 62.8 percent in the August trade deficit to $90 million compared to $242 million in the same month of the prior year.
This was mainly on account of a 77 percent increase in exports for the month to $358 million whereas imports grew slightly by 0,67 percent to $448 million.
On a month-on-month basis, exports to the United Arab Emirates jumped 92 percent to $25 million in August, compared to $13 million in the prior month.
There was also a 39 percent jump in exports to South Africa to $219 million, with those to Mozambique reaching $40.6 million and Belgium $8.3 million.
Imports from the United Kingdom, which averaged about $5 million between January and July rose sharply to $31 million in August, with those from Hong Kong standing at $10 million.
However imports from China declined 22.8 percent, month on month, to $33 million, while those from Singapore declined 33.3 percent to Singapore.
There was a modest decline of 9.66 percent in imports from South Africa, to $187 million, with those from Zambia declining 27.9 percent to $10,8 million.
Maize imports declined to $5,3 million in August from the $11,3 million recorded in July. Unleaded petrol imports for the month of August were $30.4 million, with diesel rising 11.6 percent to $76,7 million from $68,7 million in July.
Electrical energy imports however declined 20.9 percent to $15.5 million in August compared to $19.6 million in July.
In terms of exports, there was an 84 percent jump in flue cured tobacco exports to $62.5 million in August from $33.9 million in July.
Crocodile hides exports which were not that insignificant in the first half of the year were $5.9 million in August.
As crocodile producers in the country usually make their hides in the second half of the year, more crocodile hides are expected to be exported in the remaining months of the year, which is likely going to increase export receipts.
Gold exports reached their highest so far in the year, growing 40 percent to $104,7 million compared to $74,8 million in July.
Nickel ores and concentrates reached their highest in the year of $33,1 million in August, while ferro-chromium exports were $27,7 million and nickel mattes $39.1 million. — FinX