Zim trims trade deficit
Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE country’s trade deficit narrowed by 72,7 percent between February and May this year to $300 million from $1,1 billion during the comparable period last year, official data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics (Zimstat) shows.
However, trade statistics for January last year were not available and Zimstat has said this was because the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, which is the source of merchandise trade data, did not avail the statistics.
The narrowing of the trade deficit during the period under review was not largely underpinned by the growth in exports against imports.
But the decline in imports was largely compounded by the unavailability of the much-needed foreign currency in the market to import raw materials and finished products by individuals and companies.
Zimstat indicated that between February and May this year, Zimbabwe imported products valued at $1,6 billion against exports worth $1,3 million, thus leaving a trade deficit of $300 million.
In the same period last year, Zimbabwe imported goods and services worth $2,3 billion with exports only amounting to $1,2 billion. Zimbabwe’s exports between February and May this year were up by 8,3 percent to $1,3 billion compared to $1,2 billion during the same period in 2018.
The growth in exports has been attributed to a host of export incentives the Government has put in place to promote domestic production and exports.
After nearly two decades of economic meltdown, the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa’s Government is thriving to rebuild the economy by among other things, supporting key productive sectors, improving the domestic investment climate, as well as reintegrating Zimbabwe into the global community.
With the economy structurally dislocated and production subdued across all economic sectors, a narrower trade deficit coming on the back of expanding exports and falling imports will always help breathe new life into the economy.
Zimbabwe’s major export markets are South Africa, Mozambique, the United Arab Emirates, Zambia, Belgium, Botswana and Kenya.
The country’s exports largely comprise flue-cured tobacco, minerals such as nickel mattes, nickel ores and concentrates, ferro-chromium, ginned cotton and diamonds.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe’s imports were mainly coming from South Africa, Singapore, United Kingdom, China and Japan.
The imports into Zimbabwe were dominated by fuel, grain, medicines, basic commodities and other essential goods due to low productivity in the country’s productive and manufacturing sectors. — @okazunga.