20 September 2017

Namibia: Nam's Exports Remain Under Pressure

NAMIBIA'S exports continue to remain under pressure and declining across all economic blocs.

Latest trade statistics of the second quarter of 2017 posted on the Namibia Statistics Agency's website yesterday show that Namibia only experienced an annual increase in two of the top five products, being diamonds and livestock, while copper ore, cathodes and fish all recorded a decline.

By destination, only exports to South Africa and Belgium recovered, compared to last year.

Ngoni Bopoto, a research analyst at Namibia Equity Brokers, yesterday described the latest figures as "concerning."

The latest trade statistics further show that imports from Sacu member states (mainly South Africa ) declined marginally 0,3% from the first quarter of 2017 and substantially 15,1%, compared to the second quarter of 2016, which is negative for receipts from the Sacu pool.

Imports fell across all top five categories, notably so in mineral fuels, oils and vehicles, reflecting the tepid demand conditions.

The weak trading activity resulted in a deficit of N$6,2 billion with the rest of the world, which narrowed by 29,3% from the second quarter of 2016.

"However, the fact that this was mainly driven by a lower import bill (16,9% year-on-year) and not a recovery in exports, is indicative of weak domestic demand, and does not bode well for second quarter 2017 GDP numbers," said Bopoto.

South Africa, Switzerland, Botswana, Spain and Belgium were the major export destinations for Namibian products in the second quarter of 2017.

Overall, these markets made up 61,3% of the total export revenue, with South Africa maintaining the first position as Namibia's largest export destination, contributing 22,7% of total export revenue.

A total of N$3,15 billion in exports to South Africa was recorded in the second quarter of 2017, up from N$2,861 billion in the second quarter of 2016, but lower than the N$3,261 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2017.

Switzerland came second, making up 14,5% of the total exports (N$2,015 billion), followed by Botswana with a 12,4% share (N$1,719 billion). Spain contributed 6,4% of total export revenue (N$886 million), while Belgium had a relative 5,4% (N$758 million) contribution to total export earnings.

Quarter-on-quarter exports to South Africa and Belgium declined, which is contrary to Switzerland, Botswana and Spain, whose demand for Namibia's exports improved.

Namibia's import market appeared to be clustered around a few countries - South Africa, Botswana, Bulgaria, Zambia and China.

In total, these countries contributed 79,8% of the total imports to Namibia for the second quarter of 2017.

South Africa continues to be the main source of domestic imports, accounting for 60,4% (N$12,152 billion) of total imports. This is followed by Botswana with a 6,9% (N$1,394 billion) share of imports.

In third place was Bulgaria, which registered an import expenditure of N$879 million and accounted for a market share of 4,4%. Zambia and China accounted for 4,3% (N$872 million) and 3,7% (N$752 million) of total imports, respectively.


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