Namibia's Merchandise Trade Increases to N$15.7 Billion

Despite warnings of a precipitous drop in global trade as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Namibia's total merchandise trade increased to N$15.7 billion in March, the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) reported.

This is an increase of 4.4%, compared to N$15.1 billion recorded in February 2021. This level is however lower by 5% from the March 2020 level of N$16.5 billion.

According to the NSA, the country's trade balance remained in a deficit amounting to N$2.6 billion although the gap narrowed from its February 2021 deficit of N$2.7 billion after recording a surplus to the tune of N$1.7 billion in March 2020.

The value of exports in March 2021 increased by 6.3% to N$6.5 billion from its level of N$6.2 billion recorded in February 2021 while imports stood at N$9.2 billion, increasing by 3.1%

and 23.8% compared to N$8.9 billion and N$7.4 billion recorded in February 2021 and March 2020, respectively.

Statistician-General, Alex Shimuafeni said Namibia's trade composition by partner illustrated that China continued as Namibia's largest export market while South Africa maintained its first position as Namibia's largest source of imports.

"The composition of the export basket mainly comprised of minerals such as copper, precious stones (diamonds), fish, uranium and non-monetary. As usual, fish remained the only non-mineral product among the top five exports. On the other hand, the import basket comprised mainly of copper, petroleum and petroleum products, copper ores, motor vehicles and medicaments," Shimuafeni explained.

The Mach 2021 trade figures indicated that re-exports improved, rising by 5.3% month-on-month while a more significant increase of 13.9% was noted year-on-year.

Copper had the largest share of all goods re-exported, accounting for 56.5% of total re-exports mainly destined to China, France, Netherlands, India and Germany. Most of the copper re-exported originated from Zambia and D.R.C.

"Important to note is that copper appears to dominate both trade flows which is an indication of the important role the country plays as a major logistics hub for SADC," Shimuafeni said.

During the month of March 2021, 55.9% of total exports left the country by sea while road and air transportation accounted for 22.6% and 21.5% of total exports, respectively.

More From: Namibia Economist

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