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Trade balance remains in N$2 billion deficit

2021-06-08  Staff Reporter

Trade balance remains in N$2 billion deficit

April 2021 saw Namibia’s total merchandise trade increase to N$18.7 billion, which is an upsurge of 0.8% and 43.3%, compared to N$18.6 billion and N$13.1 billion recorded in March 2021 and April 2020, respectively. However, the country’s trade balance remained in a deficit of N$2 billion, increasing from N$1.8 billion recorded in both March 2021 and April 2020.

The trade balance compares the country’s trade flow with the rest of the world in terms of export earnings and expenditure on imports. 

Between April 2020 to April 2021, Namibia recorded a positive trade balance, amounting to N$325 million, only in June 2020.

According to the April 2021 Trade Statistics Bulletin compiled by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), Namibia’s trade composition by partner illustrated that China remained Namibia’s largest export market, while South Africa maintained her first position as Namibia’s largest source of imports. 

The composition of the export basket mainly comprised minerals such as copper, uranium, precious stones (diamonds), fish and non-monetary gold. As usual, fish remained the only non-mineral product among the top five exports. On the other hand, the import basket mainly comprised vessels, copper, petroleum and petroleum products, motor vehicles and medicaments. 

“The April 2021 trade figures indicated that re-exports fell by 3.1% month-on-month, while a more significant increase of 49.9% was noted year-on-year. Copper had the largest share of all goods re-exported, accounting for 67.6% of the total re-exports, mainly destined to China, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Italy. Most of the copper re-exported originated from Zambia and DRC. Important to note is that copper appears to dominate both trade flows, which is an indication of the important role the country plays as a major logistics hub for SADC, said NSA Statistician General and CEO Alex Shimuafeni. 

Meanwhile, the value of exports in April 2021 declined by 0.8% to N$8.3 billion from its level of N$8.4 billion recorded in March 2021. However, when compared to N$5.7 billion recorded in April 2020, exports increased by 47.6%.

On the other hand, imports stood at N$10.4 billion, increasing by 2% and 40%, compared to N$10.2 billion and N$7.4 billion recorded in March 2021 and April 2020, respectively. Following the developments in exports and imports, Namibia’s total merchandise trade with the rest of the world increased by 0.8% from N$18.6 billion obtained in March 2021 to N$18.7 billion recorded in April 2021. 

A further increase of 43.3% was observed in the country’s total trade when compared to its level of N$13.1 billion registered in April 2020.

Also, during April 2021, Namibia’s top five trading partners in terms of exports largely remained the same as in the previous month for the top three countries (China, South Africa & Botswana), with Belgium and Netherlands making it to the list as new entrants. These top five markets accounted for 76% of Namibia’s total exports, up from the 42.5% and 69.4% recorded in March 2021 and April 2020, respectively.

China emerged as Namibia’s main export market, absorbing 46% of all goods exported, ahead of South Africa in second place, whose market share of Namibia’s exports stood at 12.7% of total exports. 

Botswana claimed the third position to account for 7.2%, while Belgium and Netherlands occupied the fourth and fifth positions with respective shares of 5.6% and 4.5%.

April 2021 saw Namibia sourcing majority of imports mainly from South Africa, Germany, Zambia, DRC and China. The top five import markets supplied Namibia with 80.8% of all import requirements needed by the country, up from its March 2021 level of 70.9% and 55.6% in April 2020. 

South Africa remained Namibia’s largest import market, with a share of 32% of the value of all goods received into the country during April 2021. 

Following in second place was Germany, with a contribution of 23.7% of total imports. Furthermore, Zambia came in the third place, accounting for 15.1% of Namibia’s total imports, followed by DRC and China, contributing 6.6% and 3.4%, respectively.

“International merchandise trade plays a crucial role in economic development, as it links producers and consumers located in different countries into a global economic system. In this context, availability of timely and high-quality trade statistics becomes a precondition for an in-depth analysis of the employment, production, income, consumption and overall welfare – both at the country and global level,” Shimuafeni stated.

2021-06-08  Staff Reporter

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