ZIMBABWE’S exports increased by 25% to $254 million in September buoyed by minerals and tobacco, trade figures from the national statistics agency showed yesterday.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) showed that Zimbabwe’s exports have been on a steady increase since April this year, registering 61% growth from $158 million to $254m in September.
The country’s major exports were minerals and a wide range of agriculture-related products such as tobacco, tea and horticulture produce.
The statistics agency noted that in September, gold exports contributed $93m to the country’s exports bill, up 66% from the previous month, followed by tobacco, which increased by 56% to $53m.
Nickel ore and concentrates, on the other hand, contributed $28m, down 2% from the previous month. Sugarcane exports contributed $12m in the period under review.
Sugarcane, ferro-chromium and cigarettes contributed $12m, $11m and $5m respectively.
However, even though Zimbabwe’s exports were on an upward trajectory, the high trade deficit remains a headache for fiscal and monetary authorities, who have been battling to boost exports, the biggest source of the country’s liquidity.
In the period under review, imports remained flat at $444m.
Cumulatively, from January to September, the country imported goods worth $3,4 billion, while exports amounted to
$1,8 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $1,6bn.
As at the end of June, exports contributed over 60% of the liquidity flows into the country.
ZimStat data showed that diesel contributed $60m to the country’s imports bill, down 14% from the previous month, followed by unleaded petrol at $30m, down 18%, maize $29m from $34m recorded in August and electrical energy $17,7m, down 3% from the previous month.
Most of the imports were consumptive products such as maize, rice, bottled water, fuel, sugar, soap, cellphone handsets, electronics, vehicle spares, new vehicles, generators and second-hand vehicles.
In a bid to curtail imports, the government, in July, introduced controls through Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of 2016 in a bid to boost local industries.
The SI removed various goods from the open general import licence, and that, coupled with other measures on raw materials and the weak South African rand, weighed down overall imports for the period.