The trade deficit between Zimbabwe and South Africa stood at $98 million in 2016 due to numerous import restrictions employed by government last year.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Latest data gathered from the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstat) show that Zimbabwe exported goods worth $2,3 billion to South Africa in 2016 against imports of $2,2 billion, giving a trade deficit of $98 million.
South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner.
In the first 10 months of 2015, the trade deficit between two countries stood at $531 million.
In June last year, Zimbabwe banned the import of hundreds of items from its southern neighbour to reign in its ballooning trade deficit, which stood at $3,3 billion to shore up local manufacturers.
The list included furniture, baked beans, potato crisps, cereal, bottled water, mayonnaise, salad cream, peanut butter, jams, maheu, canned fruits and vegetables, pizza base, yoghurts, flavoured milks, dairy juice blends, ice-creams, cultured milk and cheese.
The ban, however, sparked demonstrations and the burning down of a government warehouse in Beitbridge, a border town leading into South Africa.
In 2016, the country’s trade deficit dropped to $2,4 billion after exporting goods worth $2,8 billion against imports of $5,2 billion.
Zimbabwe’s major exports during the period under review were tobacco and minerals such as gold and platinum.
The country exported tobacco worth $873 million, followed by gold at $849m as well as nickel and concentrates at $294m.
Diamonds and platinum recorded $106m and $51m, respectively.
Some of Zimbabwe’s major export markets in 2016 were Mozambique ($268m), United Arab Emirates ($117m), Zambia ($72m), Belgium ($46m) and Botswana ($29m).
The country’s major import markets in the period under review were Singapore ($1,1 billion), China ($365m), India ($167m), Mozambique ($162m), Japan ($100m), United Kingdom ($91m), Mauritius ($72m) and United States of America ($67m).