Zimbabwe trade deficit widens to $3 billion

ZIMBABWE’S trade deficit in the 11 months to November last year widened to $3 billion, an indication that the country continues to rely on imports as local industry remains depressed.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

According to data released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat), Zimbabwe posted a $3bn deficit in the 11 months to November, compared to $2,97bn in the previous corresponding period.

Trade figures showed that exports amounted to $2,5bn against $5,5bn imports, indicating the country’s continued reliance on imported goods as local industry remains depressed.

However, the government had predicted a $3bn trade deficit for the whole year. Exports in the period under review were dominated by gold, tobacco, nickel and diamonds, while imports comprised mainly of fuel, medicines, maize and vehicles, among others.

In his 2016 National Budget, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said a number of policies to mobilise Diaspora remittances as an important source of liquidity in the economy have been instituted.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has previously said the trade deficit reflects, among other factors, the country’s over-reliance on foreign goods, most of which can be produced locally.

These goods include grains, foodstuffs, chemicals and pharmaceutical products, among others. In his 2016 National Budget statement, Chinamasa said the continued depreciation of the South African rand against the United States dollar had undermined the competitiveness of Zimbabwe’s exports.

The rand plunged to new depths yesterday reaching 17,9169 to the dollar with Zimbabweans increasingly preferring the US dollar over the South African currency in business transactions and as a store of value.

In the outlook, exports are projected to increase to $3,7bn this year up from $3,4bn projected in 2015. Chinamasa noted that imports were projected to marginally decline to $6,2bn in 2016 from $6,3bn, attributed to the measures that were put in place to manage the unfair playing field imposed by some cheap foreign products.

However, Zimbabwe’s exports to South Africa, the country’s largest trading partner, jumped 102% while imports to that country dropped 4%.

6 Responses to Zimbabwe trade deficit widens to $3 billion

  1. ammy January 12, 2016 at 6:26 am #

    right one….

  2. clement moyo January 12, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    And this fool they call Chinamasa has no answer and not even a clue of what next. Anywhere he is not employed to solve problems but to look after Zanu PF interests and we all know that.

  3. sky January 12, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    Nyaya iripo is simple. “remove” the border between Zim and SA. This will create a market of almost 70 million people. All goods coming from SA are duty free. All companies wanting to do business in Zim just do so like they are doing business in the WC and all Zim companies are free to do business in SA. Example – if FNB wants to open a branch in Zim they just do so like they are opening one in free state , if colcom wants to sell french polony in SA they just do load a truck and go to SA , no paperwork. If Mr people want to import they just import without incurring duty.

    • mhof January 12, 2016 at 11:54 am #

      that would be wonderful in theory, but remember this country was died for

  4. WeDenga January 12, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

    So you want it to die because it was died for,nhai mhof?

  5. E Makhate January 13, 2016 at 8:03 am #

    The deficit will continue to widen as more companies close. There are no more industries in Harare, Bulawayo, Gwelo, Mutale, Kwekwe, Katoma & Hartley. Everything is now imported from China via South Africa. Even napkins and onions are imported. Thank you Nkabe.

© 2016 NewsDay Zimbabwe. All Rights Reserved.

DMMA logo