During May 2021, Namibia recorded a trade deficit to the tune of N$3.2 billion, compared to the deficit levels of N$143 million and N$1.2 billion recorded in April 2021 and May 2020. During May 2020 to May 2021, Namibia recorded a positive trade balance only in June 2020, amounting to N$338 million.
The trade balance compares the country’s trade flow with the rest of the world in terms of export earnings and import expenditure.
However, NSA General Statistician Alex Shimuafeni this week stated that Namibia’s total merchandise trade slowed to N$14.1 billion, a decline of 37.8% and 12.2%, compared to N$22.6 billion and N$16 billion recorded in April 2021 and May 2020, respectively.
Namibia’s trade composition by partner illustrated that China again emerged as Namibia’s largest export market, while South Africa was the main import market.
The composition of the export basket mainly comprised minerals such as copper, uranium, precious stones (diamonds) and fish. As usual, Shimuafeni said fish remained the only non-mineral product among the top five exports. On the other hand, the import basket comprised mainly copper, petroleum oils, copper ores, motor vehicles, and ships, boats and other floating structures. “The May 2021 trade figures indicated that re-exports fell by 60.3% month-on-month and by 20.3% year-on-year. Copper had the largest share of all goods re-exported, accounting for 57.8% of total re-exports mainly destined to China, Netherlands, France, Hong Kong and Belgium,” he said.
Re-exports are commodities imported by residents who assume short-term ownership of the commodities. The commodities are subsequently exported without undergoing any significant industrial transformation.
Even though no substantial transformation is done, he stated that re-exports have the potential to benefit the intermediate country by rendering services, such as 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 corporate tax in the intermediate country.
During the period under review, the value of imports into the country amounted to N$8.6 billion up from N$11.4 billion obtained in April 2021. The top five commodities imported into Namibia jointly accounted for 43.5% of total imports with copper leading with the largest share of 20.6%.
Following in the second position is petroleum oils with a share of 11.8% of all commodities imported. Copper ores was ranked third after contributing 5.5% to total imports, while motor vehicles and vessels followed in the fourth and fifth position with contributions of 2.9% and 2.7%, respectively.