Maputo — The economic crisis that hit Mozambique in 2016 was so severe that the country's foreign trade declined by more than 27 per cent.
According to the latest trade data, published on Wednesday by the National Statistics Institute (INE), the total value of trade declined from 11.747 billion dollars in 2015 to 8.334 billion in 2016, a fall of 27.35 per cent.
Despite the fall in commodity prices, Mozambican exports were not that badly hit, falling from 3.413 billion dollars in 2015 to 3.328 billion dollars in 2016, a decline of 2.49 per cent.
The steep fall came in the country's imports, which declined by an enormous 37.53 per cent, from 8.334 to 5.206 billion dollars. When the foreign investment mega-projects are excluded from the figures, the fall is even sharper - 38.46 per cent, a fall from 7.372 to 4,537 billion dollars.
The country's inability to pay for imports had the welcome side effect of improving the balance of trade. Exports covered 40.95 per cent of total imports in 2015, but this figure rose to 63.93 per cent on 2016. The balance of trade ran a deficit of 4.92 billion dollars in 2015, and this fell to 1.88 billion dollars in 2016.