The value of Zimbabwe’s exports nearly doubled in the first half as shipments surged 82,8% to $879,1 million from $477 million during the same period last year, led by mining but significantly weighed by agriculture whose shipments slumped 30,2%.
The country’s import bill, derived from processed foreign currency payments by authorised dealers, also increased but at a slower rate, driven by telecoms technical services, ticking up 47% to $950 million from last year’s total outlay of $650 million.
Except tobacco, which paced up in front of manufacturing, and horticulture, agriculture exports were on the downward side, according to a monetary policy review statement released by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) last week.
“The general decline (decrease of 30,2%) in exports of agricultural products is attributable to reduced commercial national herd for production beef, hides and dairy products.
The poultry industry has also not performed well in terms of production of commercial eggs and day–old chicks,” the statement said.
Zimbabwe plans to ride its recovery with mining, manufacturing and agriculture, but has had to effect growth downgrades for all the pillars, noting increasing macroeconomic vulnerabilities. Mining shipments accounted for 68,7% of total export receipts, rising 188,6% to $598,9 million from $207,6 million grossed over the comparable period the year before, driven by the gold sector.
Tobacco exports contributed 16,6% to total export revenue, rising 16,7% to $143 million, followed by manufacturing, which contributed 8,9% after jumping 17, 5% to $77, 2 million. Horticulture contributed 9% or $8,1 million with other agricultural commodities accounting for 4,9%.
Taken together, shipments of agriculture, horticulture and tobacco increased 2,2% to $192,4 million compared to $188,2 million in 2009. This means Zimbabwe is emerging from a decade-long downturn with a commodity-heavy economic dependence, which underlines the fragility and vulnerability of its recovery should global markets take a turn.
The RBZ attributes Zimbabwe’s robust H1 mining performance to the liberalisation of gold trading in January last year, which enabled producers of the bullion to gain directly from firming global prices.
“Platinum continued to significantly contribute towards the total mineral shipments in 2010,” the RBZ H1 review statement said.
“The same scenario obtained in 2009. Ferrochrome also contributed significantly to the total shipments in 2010.”