Trade deficit balloons in July

11 September 2020 | Economics

Jo-Maré Duddy – Namibia’s exports plunged to about N$5.89 billion in July while imports jumped to nearly N$9.44 billion, leaving the country with a trade deficit of around N$3.5 billion – the highest in a year.

Data released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) yesterday showed export earnings were 23% lower than a year ago, while it dropped 21% compared to June.

Imports, on the other hand, surged by about 31% compared to June, but was some 3.8% lower than in July 2019.

China was Namibia’s biggest export market, accounting for N$2.36 billion or 40% of all exports in July. Compared to July 2019, exports to China rose by nearly 29.6%. Namibia imports from China amounted to N$432 million.

South Africa was Namibia’s second biggest export destination and accounted for 18.3% of total exports. Belgium, Spain and Zambia formed part of Namibia’s top five export markets.

South Africa in July maintained its first spot as Namibia’s largest source of imports, accounting for 37.4% of total imports into the country.

“Zambia also remained firm on its usual second position with 14.8 percent of the market share. Countries such as DRC, Chile and Bulgaria also formed part of Namibia’s top five sources of imports,” the NSA said.

Commodities

Non-ferrous metals like zinc and copper had the largest share (28.8%) in Namibia’s total exports ahead of metalliferous ores and metal scrap (23.4%), fish (11.7%), non-monetary gold (10.4%) and inorganic chemical (3.5%).

In terms of imports, non-ferrous metals also appeared as the most imported commodity with a relative share of 18.7% of total imports, the NSA said.

This was followed by metalliferous ores and metal scrap with 14.6% and petroleum and petroleum products with 11.6%. Vehicles contributed 4.6% whereas inorganic chemicals had a share of 3.5% in Namibia’s total imports.

In terms of regional composition, BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) was the largest export market during July, with a market share of 41.8% of total exports. The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) followed with 22.4%.

On the imports side SACU remained the main source of Namibia’s imports with a share of 38.2% in the country’s total import bill, followed by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) with a share of 22.5%.

“Namibia’s trade by mode of transport shows that in July 2020, the majority of goods exported left the country by sea, accounting for 67.4% of total exports. Whereas most goods that entered Namibia came in by road, accounting for 63.2% of total imports,” the NSA said.

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