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SA remains Zim’s top trading partner

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BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
SOUTH Africa continues to be Zimbabwe’s major trading partner, accounting for 40,6% of the country’s total exports in April 2022, data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) shows.

However, South Africa has always maintained a trade surplus with Zimbabwe mainly due to the economic instability experienced in its southern neighbour and the volatility of the South African rand to the US dollar.

In April, Zimbabwe’s total exports stood at US$587 million against imports of US$637 million, leaving the country with a US$50 million trade deficit.

Data indicates that, in the period under review, Zimbabwe exported goods and services worth US$238 million to South Africa but made imports worth US$279 million from the neighbouring country, resulting in a trade deficit of US$41 million.

Zimbabwe imports a wide range of products from South Africa.

For instance, it imports machinery and mechanical appliances, raw materials, food products, fuels, minerals, textiles and clothing, footwear, electricity, chemicals, metals and intermediate products, among others.

Another significant trading partner, in the period under review, was the United Arab Emirates which constituted 34,1% of the country’s total exports.

China accounted for 9,9% of Zimbabwe’s total exports, with Zimbabwe earning US$58 million.

Other trading partners included Mozambique, Belgium, Singapore, Mauritius, India, Zambia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Zimbabwe’s import bill is set to balloon following government’s decision to allow the importation of basic commodities to improve their availability and halt price increases.

Researchers at Wealth Access Securities said lowering import tariffs would likely result in the flooding of cheap products from neighbouring countries threatening the viability of local manufacturers.

“South African exporters are set to benefit more as most of our local products are sourced from Zimbabwe’s biggest business partner. Moreover, consumers are likely to choose imported products over domestic products,” they said.

“We are of the view that retail companies both listed and unlisted like Pick n Pay, OK Zimbabwe, Choppies and Spar will have to deal with a decline in margins due to stiff competition from the informal sector.”

Meanwhile, data for April shows that Zimbabwe’s main exports were semi-manufactured gold, nickel mattes including platinum group of minerals, nickel ores and concentrates, tobacco, industrial diamonds, ferro-chromium, platinum unwrought or in powder form and coke and semi-coke.

In the period under review, the country realised about US$340 million from major mineral exports.

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