Leap in exports to South Africa see an improvement in Zim’s October’s trade imbalance


Industry Minister Mike Bimha

THE  improvement in Zimbabwean exports to South Africa helped narrow the country’s trade deficit for the month of October.

Despite a stronger currency, Zimbabwe’s trade deficit for the month of October was narrowed to US$279,7 million from a deficit of US$360,1 million, an improvement of 22,3 percent. This was chiefly driven by a 13.6 percent growth in exports to South Africa and a 41 percent drop in imports from Singapore. For the month of October Zimbabwe exports to South Africa were US$177.8 million from US$153.5 million recorded in September and imports from Singapore were US$115,1 million from US$195,1 in the same corresponding period.

The decline in imports comes on the back of a backdrop of declining aggregate demand in Zimbabwe. This has also seen the value of fuel and lubes imports into Zimbabwe declining as a result with the country importing fuels and lubes valued at US$127,9 million.

The economy continues to be an exporter of unfinished goods with the agriculture and mining sectors continuing to dominate total exports. For October, Zimbabwe’s major export commodities were Tobacco, Gold, Ferro Chrome, nickel, diamonds and sugar cane.

In total the country exported tobacco valued at US$84,6 million followed by gold at US$60,7 million. Ferro Chrome came at a distance third with exports valued at US$12,8 million. Nickel, diamonds and sugar cane exports were US$11,5 million, US$10,7 million and US$6,3 million respectively.

South Africa remains Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner with Mozambique coming in at second place with exports valued at $$32.7 million making their way into Zimbabwe’s eastern neighbour. The Chinese and Indian markets are still not attractive for the country’s exports with the two BRIC countries not importing anything from Zimbabwe.

According to the trade statistics, Zimbabwe imported goods and services valued at US$515,9 million down 11,6 percent from prior month. For the month of September 2015 the country’s major imports were motor vehicles at $27.5 million; maize at $18.7 million; rice at US$11 million while edible crude oils valued at US$7,3 million were brought into the country.

Overall Zimbabwe’s total trade for October was US$752.1 million down 6,8 percent from total trade of US$807,1 million recorded in September 2015. Analysts point to the need for the country to come up with an industrialisation policy that will see the resuscitation of the country’s manufacturing sector. FinX
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