The value of Zimbabwe’s total export earnings rose 16% to US$1.546bn in the first four months of this year from US$1.331bn received in the prior comparative period on the back of strong commodity prices and increase in international remittances,it has been learnt.
The bulk of earnings came from the mining sector, which accounted for 73% of the total export receipts due to competitive prices on the international market.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya told Business Times that the tobacco and mining sector form the biggest percentage of the export receipts and are riding on good prices on the world market. “The mining sector contributed the bulk of the export receipts with US$1.135bn from the total of US$1.546bn with gold contributing US$579.4m and platinum US$380.9m.
“From the non-minerals, tobacco contributed US$230.8m during the past four months due to good prices,” Mangudya said.
Gold has overtaken platinum as the highest earner in the mining sector and is slowly peaking up to take its pole position from diaspora remittances.
With the on-going Russia-Ukraine war, gold prices are expected to be firmer on the international market as investors view the yellow metal as a safe haven for investors during the trying times.
Diamonds also performed very well with US$62.3m given that no diamond was exported last year during the period under review.
Tourism is on the rebound as it contributed US$20.5m from US$5.5m.
The sector is recovering from Covid-19 which has led to the closure of many resorts and tourist attractions leading to a complete shutdown of the tourism and hospitality sector.
The country’s forex inflows went up 16% during 2022 first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period last year.
“The positive trend in foreign currency generation has seen the country realising US$2.4bn in foreign currency receipts during the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 15.9% compared to foreign currency received during the same period in 2021,” Mangudya said.
The foreign currency receipts were against foreign payments of US$1.8bn, leaving a surplus position of US$1.9bn in foreign currency accounts and national reserves.
Analysts argue that this forex surplus should be used to tame rampant inflation in the economy.
In 2021,foreign receipts amounted to US$9.7bn from US$6.3bn in 2020 with exports increased by 66,6% to US$6.2bn while diaspora remittances grew by 42.7% to US$1.4bn.
Imports amounted to US$4.9bn.
Prices of a wide range of commodities have reached the highest level during the last decade largely due to booming demand as the economy recovers from the pandemic.
“This performance, which dwarfs the previous record of US$7.6bn recorded in 2013, is attributable to increased international commodity prices, increased international remittances and the gold incentives put in place by the government,” Mangudya said.
The upward trajectory in foreign payments was largely on account of increased foreign currency supply from the auction system and exports, consistent with the increased capacity utilisation in industry.
The manufacturing sector performance is estimated to have increased in 2021 following volume recoveries across most sub-sectors that include foodstuffs, chemical and petroleum products, drinks and beverages, tobacco and non-metallic mineral products, supported by the stable economic environment, the auction system that provided the much needed forex, declining inflation as well as localisation of value chains.
As a result, locally produced goods now constitute above 65% of retail sales in the country.