Zimbabwe trade imbalance widens

Zimbabwe trade imbalance widens
Published: 04 February 2014
Zimbabwe's trade imbalance rose by 16 percent in 2013 in comparison to the previous year, according to figures released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStats).

The trade deficit stood at $4,2 billion compared to the 2012 figure of $3,6 billion. Total imports last year stood at $7,7billion, a two percent rise from last year's figure of $7,4 billion. The rise was mainly due to an increase in the levels of fuel imported.

The year saw the total exports declining by 9 percent from 2012's total exports of $3,8 billion to 2013 $3,5 billion.

The decline was mainly as a result in the decline from mineral exports due to the serious depression in the prices of international commodities especially the decline in the price of nickel.

Total trade declined by 1,3 percent from the previous year's $11,3 billion to $11,2 billlion. The widening of the year's trade deficit and the decline in the level of exports is a sign that the economy seriously needs rejuvenation.

The slight increase in the level of imports is also a sign of the depressed disposable incomes. This year there is likely to be a significant change in the performance of external trade due to the initiatives that were introduced by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in terms of protecting locally manufactured products through the introduction of tariffs and quantitative restrictions.

The success of the trade protection measures is dependant certain critical issues that need urgent attention, mainly the issue of increasing productivity.

Observers note that if the local industries continue to fail to meet local demand tariffs on imports will only result in a rise in the prices of imported goods. And if the local products are not competitive enough to widen their export market then the trade deficit may not improve.

To this extent, the improvement in external trade is mainly dependent on productivity and competitiveness of the country's local industries which is presently a major challenge.
- bh24
Tags: Trade,


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