Feb trade deficit narrows 90%

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LIVINGSTONE MARUFU

ZIMBABWE’s trade deficit narrowed by 90 percent in February this year to $22,2 million from $228,6 million during the same period last year on the backdrop of a dip in fuel imports which were triggered by foreign currency shortages.

The southern African nation is a net importer and mainly exports primary commodities.

 Figures released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) show that imports during February 2018 were $574,942 million, against exports of   $346, 3 million while this year’s imports were $370,5 million imports this year against exports  of $348,3 million.

Economist Persistence Gwanyanya told Business Times that the scarcity of foreign currency and high cost of living has affected imports.

“Fuel consumption has fallen to five million litres a day from close to nine million litres a day during the same period last year. This may be due to an increase in price of fuel in January this year,” Gwanyanya said.

“This means fuel that gobbled over 48% of the imports has reduced and also the fact that the country’s electricity generation has gone up, automatically we now need less money for electricity than last year.”

South Africa remains the largest market for Zimbabwean products, taking 49% of total exports, followed by United Arab Emirates with a 20% market share, Mozambique (10%), Zambia (2%), Belgium (1%), China (1%), Botswana (1%) and Kenya (1%), among others.