Zimbabwe's import bill has fallen for the fourth consecutive month due to a combination of austerity measures introduced by Government as well as limited availability of foreign currency.
According to the latest trade figures released by the Zimbabwe Statistics Office (Zimstats), the country's import bill for the month of January at $336,8 million was 31,8 percent lower than the import bill of $494,7 billion for the previous month of December. This is also the lowest import bill in approximately three years.
The importation of petrol and that of diesel were among those that declined. The petrol import bill at $36,4 million was at its lowest since February 2018 while that of diesel at $60,6 million was at its lowest since January 2017.
Importation of electrical energy at $2,8 million was not only lower than the December import bill, but was also a massive drop from a bill of $31 million in April 2018.
Wheat imports at $7,5 million (December 2018: $10,7 million) were also at their lowest since April 2018. Another massive drop was in the rice import bill at $1,2 million was versus $9,7 million in December 2018.
Importation of crude soya bean at a cost of $4,6 million was also significantly lower than $15 million in December 2018. Prior to this, the average import bill for soya bean was $9,3 million.
Disappointingly export earnings also registered a significant decline in January. At $292,5 million January export earnings were lower than what was achieved in December at $364,8 million. It was also the lowest outturn in 8 months.
This resulted in a trade deficit of $44,2 million in January but much lower than December trade deficit of $130 million according to Zimstat figures.