Zimbabwe’s exports and imports surge as trade recovers

This leaves the country with a manageable trade deficit of US$45.2 million in April 2021

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Key Highlights

  • Exports up 122% YoY
  • Imports up 118% YoY
  • Gold exports at US$103.3 million surpassed nickel mattes
  • Exports to South Africa up a whopping 2364%

HARARE – April’s trade data showed substantial year-over-year gains for both exports and imports as global trade activity picks up amidst increased vaccine rollout in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Exports jumped 122% year-on-year to US$444.7 million in April 2021 compared to US$200.5 million in the same period last year. Gold exports at US$103.3 million for the month expanded by 69% against US$62.0 million recorded in April last year.

Notably, gold surpassed Nickel mattes, which are a composition of platinum group metals (PGMs) and are established as Zimbabwe’s leading foreign currency earner. These expanded by 29% YoY to US$101.5 million compared to US$78.6 million in April last year.

Exports of flue-cured tobacco scaled up 548% YoY to US$40.4 million from US$6.2 million same period last year.

Imports were up a whopping 118% to US$489.9 million over April 2020 outturn of US$225.1 million.

This leaves the country with a manageable trade deficit of US$45.2 million in April, down from US$65.4 million in March and further downwards from US$111.1 million in February.

Electrical energy imports significantly declined by 28% YoY to US$8.9 million during the review period compared to US$12.3 million in April last year which could be a function of increased local power generation.

Diesel imports at US$24.4 million were down from US$26.4 million, but ahead of US$23.6 million in March 2021 while unleaded petrol import bill declined by 49% YoY from US$11.6 million in April last year to US$5.9 million during the period under review, but also ahead of US$5.4 million recorded in March.

In light of the recent surge in coronavirus cases including South Africa, which is Zimbabwe’s top trade partner, we expect exports and imports to slow down if the current COVID-19 wave persists longer. Both countries have introduced level four (4) lockdown, but, with minimal restrictions on key trade activities.

Exports to South Africa increased by a whopping 2364% YoY from US$7.2 million last year to US$176.4 million in April 2021.

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