Zim-SA trade deficit falls 34pct on higher mineral exports

Zim-SA trade deficit falls 34pct on higher mineral exports

HARARE, October 19 (The Source) – Zimbabwe reduced its trade deficit with South Africa in the nine months to September 30 by 34 percent to $417 million compared to $681 million last year, latest figures from the Zimbabwe statistical agency have shown.

Imports from South Africa amounted to $1,617 billion while exports to South Africa totalled $1,2 billion. Zimbabwe’s exports to its biggest trading partner are, however, dominated by mineral exports, mostly platinum.

Overall, Zimbabwe’s trade deficit in the nine months to September stood at $2,3 billion after imports of $4 billion and exports of $1,7 billion, with the deficit seen at $3 billion by year end, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency said.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) President Busisa Moyo last week said robust measures are needed to reverse the trend.

“Cumulatively, Zimbabweans have imported on a net basis $18 billion worth of goods, so every year we’re $3 billion short in terms of exports versus imports,” he said.

Zimbabwe has over the years continually run systemic trade deficits due to structural weaknesses in the economy which have been caused by many factors.  This has seen the closing down of the country’s industry and affecting the country’s global competitiveness, resulting in a marked decline in exports.

Analysts say the southern African country is now more of a trading economy, with the capacity utilisation for the manufacturing sector expected to fall below 30 percent this year due to increasing power outages and the strengthening United States dollar against the South African Rand, Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner.

Zimbabwe’s once robust manufacturing sector started to crumble in early 2000s when the economy slipped into a decade-long recession.

Since 2009, the economy has slowly recovered, but mostly on the back of a mining boom but the consumer market remains dominated by imports from across the border.