THE country’s imports dropped by just more than five percent in the year to December mainly due to the general weak aggregate demand on the back of an economic slowdown, the declining value of fuel imports, Government protectionist policies and the falling South African rand.
South Africa remains the largest trading partner with imports of US$2,3 billion and exports of US$1,92 billion. Analysts say the continuous depreciation of the rand is mostly a problem as far as imports are concerned. It explains why imports continue to flood the Zimbabwe market despite the policy measures to curtail them through higher customs duty
According to figures from Zimstat, the country imported US$6 billion worth of goods in the year to December from US$6,37 billion recorded in the comparable year ago period. In 2014, the country imported products worth US$7,15 billion in 2014 and US$7,48 billion in 2013.
Imports were mainly from petrol US$465,73 million, diesel US$918,7 million, maize US$164.5 1 million, wheat $99.98 million, crude soya bean oil and ammonia nitrate $31.05 million.
Imports are expected to rise further due to the effects of a drought-induced higher food bill.
Exports in 2015 amounted to US$2,7 billion resulting in a trade deficit of US$3,29 billion, a marginal drop from US$3,3 billion recorded for 2014. The size of exports was affected by poor earnings from minerals due to lower prices on the global market. Chrome exports, which were supposed to boost trade balance figures have however not had an impact.
Topping the export earnings include flue cured tobacco US$827,73 million gold US$630,5 million, diamonds US$156,58 million (much lower than projected US$600 million), ferrochrome US$157,94 million, frozen water fish worth US$11,87 million US$17,8 million black tea, cane sugar US$95,95 million and cigarettes US$10,5 million. The country also exported US$10,35 million worth of collections and collector’s pieces of zoological interest as Government continues its push to export animals to, especially, the Far East –FinX
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