ZIMBABWE imported goods worth US$782,9 million in July, which reflects a 7,6 percent increase as compared to US$727,4 million in the previous year, the national statistics agency, ZimStat has said.
Procurement of critical raw materials, machinery, and equipment as well as consumables required by the country’s industrial sector dominated imports.
Most imports are from South Africa with goods worth US$322 million procured up from US$274,7 million in June.
Imports from China were worth US$127 million during the period under review from US$122,2 million in June.
Other countries that the country imports from include the Bahamas, Hong Kong, India, United Arab Emirates, Zambia, Mauritius, Mozambique, and Thailand, among others.
“The total value of exports in July 2023 was US$603,2 million representing a 5,96 percent decrease from US$641,5 million reported in June 2023. Total imports for July 2023 were US$782,9 million indicating an increase of 7,62 percent from US$727,4 million reported in June 2023,” ZimStat said.
The trade deficit for July 2023 was US$179,6 million, 109.0% from a deficit of US$85,9 million recorded in July 2023.
In the period under review, the country exported 26,7 percent of semi-manufactured gold, 11,1 industrial diamonds (19,2 percent) and main products imported were mineral fuels and mineral oil products (18,8 percent), machinery and mechanical appliances (12,6 percent).
In July, the main export destinations were the United Arab Emirates (27,6 percent) and South Africa with 23,6 percent.
In his recent 2023 mid-term monetary policy statement, RBZ governor John Mangudya noted that the current account balance is estimated to have narrowed to a surplus of US$38,3 million in the first half of the year, compared to a surplus of US$397,9 million for the same period in 2022.
This followed a more significant trade deficit, as exports contracted, while imports increased.
Merchandise exports declined by 8,2 percent from US$3 479,0 million in the first half of 2022 to US$3 194,2 million for the corresponding period in 2023, mainly weighed down by the subdued performance in mineral exports.
Mineral exports, which account for the largest share of merchandise exports, declined by 12,5 percent, from US$2 898,9 million in the first half of 2022 to US$2 5836,8 million, during the period under review, he said the country’s agricultural exports increased by 15,9 percent, from US$399,9 million in the first half of 2022 to US$463,5 million in 2023, during the period under review, driven by tobacco exports.
“Horticultural exports were, however, subdued owing to lagged effects of higher input costs for fertiliser, chemicals, fuel, packaging, and labour, which increased significantly in 2022.
“Manufactured exports increased by 7,6 percent, from US$180,6 million recorded in the first half of 2022 to US$193,84 million in the corresponding half in 2023, largely driven by rising tobacco cigarette,” he said.