BULAWAYO, February 22 (The Source) – Zimbabwe‘s trade deficit narrowed to $126 million in January, compared to $146 million in the same period last year, official figures show.
Figures released by the Zimbabwe Statistical agency (Zimstat) on Wednesday revealed that Zimbabwe imported goods worth $385 million in January, against exports of $259 million.
Major exports during the month under review included flue cured tobacco worth $2.02 million granite, $29.3 million nickel, $7.5 million chrome, $8.55 million diamonds, $56.71 million gold and $26.12 million ferrochrome.
Imports from South Africa, Zimbabwe’s biggest trade partner, declined 30 percent to $146 million in January 2017 against exports of $214 million as the trade balance between the two countries normalised.
Other import source markets in the period under review were Singapore at $69 million, China ($58 million), Zambia ($10 million) and Mauritius ($10 million).
In his monetary policy statement earlier this month, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya bemoaned the country’s continued reliance on imports of finished goods, saying it was unsustainable.
He said it undermined current efforts to resuscitate domestic industrial production, leading to significant trade and current account deficits.
Mangudya said despite efforts being made by government towards containing the country’s import bill, export growth has not been adequate to surpass that of imports.
In 2016, Zimbabwe’s exports decreased by 7 percent, to $3.37 billion from US$3.61 billion the previous year.Imports also declined by 11 percent over the same period, to $5.35 billion from $6 billion in 2015.