Covid consumes billions in exports

Namibia exported goods worth nearly N$6.4 billion for August, the lowest since April this year.

17 November 2020 | Economics

Jo-Maré Duddy – Trade disruptions due to the global Covid-19 pandemic contributed to a slump of about N$7 billion in Namibia’s export earnings for the first eight months of the year.

Data released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) shows the country exported goods to the tune of N$54.2 billion from January to the end of August, nearly 11.5% less than the same period in 2019.

The NSA’s latest figure reports exports of nearly N$6.4 billion for August, the lowest since April this year.

Namibia imported goods worth nearly N$65.2 billion during the first eight months of 2020, down about N$9 billion or 12% compared to the same period last year.

The total trade deficit for the period under review came in at just above N$11 billion, compared to nearly N$13 billion for the first eight months of 2019.

MILK

Namibia imported dairy products worth about N$61 million in August. This exceeds the monthly average of N$56 million recorded during the past year, the NSA says.

Compared to August 2019, dairy imports increased by N$16 million or nearly 36%.

Milk constituted nearly N$27.8 million or 45.5% of dairy imports in August 2020.

Republikein reported earlier this month that only a handful of milk producers remain in Namibia. They met with the minister of agriculture, water and forestry, Calle Schlettwein, to discuss urgent measures to save the industry which is suffering from high input costs.

The NSA says dairy imports exceeded N$61 million in October and November last year, and again in March in July this year.

Nearly 26% of August’s dairy imports was cheese, followed by yoghurt (9%), dairy spreads (7.7%) and butter (3.6%).

South Africa, Sweden, Denmark, Zimbabwe and Portugal were the main dairy import markets.

EXPORTS

Non-ferrous metals was Namibia’s top export product in August, generating more than N$2.1 billion in foreign earnings. This is 0.7% less than in August 2019.

Representing nearly 34% of total exports, these metals were destined for Chinese and Belgium markets.

Of the total value, nearly N$2.08 billion was re-exports.

Re-exports are goods imported and subsequently exported without having received any significant industrial transformation.

“Activities in the intermediate country that may benefit from re-exports include but not limited to the following: sorting, re-packaging, storage, transport and trade mediation services. This implies that the country’s services sector greatly benefits from activities of re-exports. Additionally, re-exports serve as an indication of favourable cooperate tax in the intermediate country,” the NSA says.

Fish worth N$630 million was exported, down 36.5% on an annual basis. Live animal exports amounted to N$128 million, dropping 31% year-on-year. Only N$84 million worth of meat and meat products were destined for foreign markets, nearly half the value of August 2019.

MARKETS

China remained Namibia’s most important export market, accounting for 41% of all exports in August. More than N$2.6 billion were earned in exports to the superpower.

South Africa, with exports of N$1.05 billion, was the second biggest destination, followed by Botswana (N$840 million), Spain (N$315 million) and Zambia (N$277 million).

BRIC (Brazil, Russia India and China) emerged as the most important regional market with 42.3% of all exports, mostly copper and uranium.

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the European Union (EU) followed in the second and third positions, accounting for a market share of 29.8% and 12.5% respectively. Exports to SACU comprised mainly of diamonds, non-monetary gold and live animals, while fish, diamonds and copper were responsible for the large volume of exports to the EU, the NSA says.

SADC-excluding-SACU followed in fourth place with a share of 7.7% due to high exports of fish.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) came in fifth position with a market share of 7.1%. Fish remained the largest export commodity to COMESA, according to the NSA.

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