ZIMBABWE’S export earnings grew by 17,8 percent to US$654,2 million last month from US$555,5 million recorded in April as Government policy reform measures continue to impact positively on the domestic productive sector with a drastic jump in trade receipts.
According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, (ZimStat) latest report, the jump in foreign receipts was largely attributed to gold which continued to dominate as Zimbabwe’s single biggest export accounting for 24 percent of the total value of goods exported in May.
In second place are mineral mattes, an intermediate product. These are labelled nickel mattes by ZimStat, which also makes it clear that the category includes the large exports of platinum group metals. These mattes account for 18,3 percent of the total value of goods exported last month.
The six platinum group metals of platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, osmium and iridium occur together, with platinum predominating, but the precise breakdown of the metals is only known after the final refining in South Africa.
With at least 270 million kg of tobacco worth US$817 million having been sold at the auction and contract floors since the beginning of the marketing season in March, tobacco was trailing, accounting for 12,4 percent of the total exports earnings. While tobacco easily remains the largest agricultural export and exports are growing, minerals have been expanding much faster.
Industrial diamonds came in fourth with 10,1 percent of the total exports and then a category called nickel ores and concentrates, but again with ZimStat making it clear that this includes platinum group metals, accounting for 8,8 percent of the total exports.
Other products, which contributed to export growth include the ferro-chromium, coke and semi-coke of coal and chromium ores and concentrates sugars as well as other mineral substances.
According to ZimStat, South Africa remained on the top as the country’s largest trading partner accounting for US243,8 million of the total exports recorded last month, a remarkable increase from the US$188,5 recorded in April.
The United Arab Emirates contributed US$157,1 million as compared to US$154 million recorded during April making it the second largest export market.
Other notable countries that spent millions of dollars in the Zimbabwean market include China, Mozambique, Zambia, Belgium, the Netherlands , Indonesia, and Italy among others.
The positive strides can be attributed to the country’s continued engagements and re-engagement with foreign countries on deepening economic co-operation.
However, imports increased by 20, 2 percent from US$708,1 million in April 2023 to US$851 million in May.
The trade deficit also increased from US$152,6 million during April to US$196,8 million.
Despite all these challenges, the Government continues to encourage value addition and beneficiation so that the country exports finished goods, which helps create more employment for locals.
This has seen the Government introducing different policies, which include the recent ban on the export of raw lithium ore and lithium salts, as well as the introduction of value addition.