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Zim trade deficit narrows

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Zim trade deficit narrows

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ZIMBABWE opened the year 2022 with a trade deficit of US$88.1 million, 64% lower than the corresponding period last year, as the country continues its over-reliance on foreign-produced goods, latest trade data from the national statistics agency have shown.

DUMISANI NYONI

According to numbers released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) last week, exports in January this year amounted to US$543.9 million against US$632 million worth of imports, which remain heavily skewed towards consumptive products.

This resulted in a trade deficit of US$88.1 million. During the corresponding period last year, imports stood at US$528.4 million against exports of US$282.9 million, giving a trade deficit of US$245.5 million. In the period under review, imports increased by 20%, while exports increased by 92%.

The country’s major imports were machinery and mechanical appliances, mineral fuels and mineral oils products, cereals, fertilizers, vehicles, animal and vegetable fats and pharmaceutical products, including vaccines.

For instance, fuel gobbled up US$70.5 million, vaccines for humans (US$35.8 million), crude soya bean oil (US$19.5 million), rice (US$11.7 million) and electricity (US$9.5 million).

January 2022 data show that Zimbabwe’s main exports were semi-manufactured gold at US$188.3 million, tobacco (US$177.3 million), nickel mattes (US$76 million), nickel ores and concentrates (US$58 million), ferro-chromium (US$28 million) and platinum unwrought (US$12.7 million).

ZimStat noted that major minerals produced in the country such as nickel concentrates and nickel mattes were exported in semi-pro[1]cessed form, while nickel ores (including platinum-group metals) were exported in raw form.

 One of the challenges of relying on primary product exports is that the country might run out of its finite primary products. For example, precious metals could become scarce. Without diversification, this would leave the economy with a void.

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