Zimbabwe: Trade Deficit Narrows

16 October 2019

Zimbabwe's trade deficit narrowed to US$57,5 million after the country recorded a 24,9 percent growth in its exports to $299,5 million for the month of July 2019 up from exports of $239,8 million in June 2019.

In June, the trade deficit was US$218,8 million.

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's latest report for the month of July 2019, the increase in exports was attributable to a rise in export earnings from gold, nickel ore and concentrate; and ferrochrome.

Exports for gold were up by 40,8 percent; nickel ore and concentrates up by 27,8 percent; and ferrochrome up by 28,1 percent.

However, the country's export basket remained largely concentrated in a few primary and semi-processed commodities, which included, PGMs, gold, ferrochrome, diamonds, and cane sugar.

These commodities contributed about 80,2 percent of the country's export earnings for the month of July 2019, reads the RBZ report.

Zimbabwe is banking on the minerals sector for economic growth and development.

This week President Mnangagwa launched a strategic roadmap to the achievement of a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023 as Government ramps up efforts to increase the sector's contribution to the economy.

The projected increase represents a 344 percent jump from US$2,7 billion achieved in 2017.

By 2030, the industry is expected to be generating upwards of US$20 billion.

President Mnangagwa said the mining sector is a forerunner in the provision of backward and forward linkages with other economic sectors, creation of decent jobs, infrastructure development, export earnings and becoming the most preferred investment portfolio.

"Thus, the attainment of our Vision 2030 is premised on the mining sector making huge contributions. It is envisaged that investments and benefits accruing from this sector will be critical building blocks for a prosperous Zimbabwe."

The country's major export destinations included South Africa, which absorbed 32,8 percent of total exports, followed by Singapore (28,9 percent), China (9,7 percent) India (2,7 percent) and UK (2,6 percent).

Meanwhile, merchandise imports registered a decline of 22,2 percent, from US$458,6 million in June to US$357 million in July 2019.

The decline was largely underpinned by lower imports of fuel, notably diesel and petrol according to the RBZ.

The increase in exports, on the back of a slump in imports, culminated in a significant improvement in the country's trade balance, from a deficit of US$218,8 million in June 2019, to a deficit of US$57,5 million in July 2019.

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