Tapiwanashe Mangwiro Senior Business Reporter
Zimbabwe’s trade deficit for September 2021, widened to US$150,7 million from US$31,4 million in the previous month, the latest official statistics show.
Notably, while the value of Zimbabwe’s monthly exports for September retreated, the value of imports for the same month registered a marginal increase.
According to data released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) last week, the value of total exports in September 2021 was US$514,3 million, signifying a 14 percent drop from total export earnings of US$597,2 million in August this year.
But on a rather positive note, exports increased by 19,2 percent to US$4,05 billion recorded in the first nine months of 2021, from US$3,4 billion in the same period of 2020, spurred by increases in agriculture and mineral exports, while manufactured exports remained subdued.
In 2022 merchandise exports are projected to grow by 0,4 percent to US$4,73 billion, mainly driven by mineral exports
“During the same period, imports increased by 5,8 percent to US$665,1 million from US$628,7 million in August 2021,” said ZIMSTAT.
Zimbabwe saw exports of food and beverages fall to US$9,7 million in September from US$13,8 million a month earlier, transport equipment exports also decreasing to US$0,84 million from US$1,2 million in August.
These two contributed to the modest decline in exports during the month under review.
“Consequently, there was a trade deficit of US$150,7 million in September 2021, compared to US$31,4 million in August 2021.”
For September, the leading export commodity was semi-manufactured gold constituting 32,8 percent of total exports while nickel mattes, ores and concentrates had 29,8 percent.
These leading minerals constituted a total of 62.6 percent in total export earnings.
In monetary terms, the export value of semi-manufactured gold increased to US$168,6 million from US$145 million the previous month.
Meanwhile, the contribution of tobacco, another export heavyweight, constituted 13,1 percent in September 2021 compared to 10,3 percent in August 2021.
ZIMSTAT further highlighted that in September 2021, the country exported 13.9 million kilogrammes valued at US$61.3 million in August 2021.
Meanwhile, leading imports in September were fuels (16,1 percent), machinery (14,5 percent), vehicles (7,7 percent), electrical machinery and equipment (5,1 percent), plastics (4,3 percent), vaccines (3,9 percent), animal and vegetable oils (3,9 percent), cereals (3,9 percent) of which maize excluding seed was 0,02 percent and fertilizers (3,6 percent).