ZIMBABWE’S trade deficit narrowed by 28% to $1,56 billion in the 10 months of the year on the back of increased exports despite an uptick in imports, latest trade data from the national statistics agency shows.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
In the same period last year, the trade deficit was $2,17 billion. Information released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency yesterday showed that imports to October amounted to $4,47 billion against $2,91 billion exports.
In the same period last year, the country’s imports were $4,25 billion against exports of $2,08 billion.
Most of the imports in the 10 months of 2017 were consumptive products such as maize, fuel, rice, bottled water, sugar, soap, mobile phone handsets, electronics, vehicle spares, vehicles, generators and second-hand vehicles.
Major imports included diesel ($700m), unleaded petrol $319m), electrical energy ($165m), maize ($113m), durum wheat ($72m) among others. The exports in the period under review included beef, tobacco and other agricultural produce, as well as wines, minerals and scrap metal.
Exports included semi-manufactured gold worth $776 million, flue-cured tobacco ($490m), nickel mattes ($378m), nickel ore concentrates ($328m), ferro-chromium ($262m), chromium ore and concentrates ($81m), and unworked industrial diamond ($73m).
Zimbabwe imported goods worth $1,83 billion from South Africa, its largest trading partner, against $1,76 billion exports.
Other notable trading partners in the period under review for Zimbabwe included Singapore, China, Japan, Mozambique, India and Mauritius.
Presenting his 2017 budget review, former Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa projected that imports would be at $5,4 billion versus exports of $3,9 billion by the end of the year.
He, however, noted that there was a general improvement in the current account which was largely attributed to import substitution, coupled with import compression measures introduced by the government in 2016 as well as the low uptake of intermediate imports due to the slowdown in the manufacturing sector.