Trade deficit pegged at N$6.2 billion
Namibia recorded a trade deficit of N$6.2 billion in in the second quarter of 2017, which is mainly attributed to a larger decline in the import bill (-N$4.1bn) than the decline in export receipts (-N$1.5bn) during this period, the Namibian Statistics Agency reported.
According to the agency, the quarterly merchandise trade deficit narrowed in the second quarter of 2017 when compared with the same period last year (N$8.8 billion.) The value of exported goods fell by 9.8% y-o-y in the second quarter of 2017. This decline is attributed to lower copper cathode exports (-16% y-o-y) to Switzerland, lower diamond exports (-30.8% y-o-y) to Botswana and lower fish exports (-21.6% y-o-y) to Spain.
Meanwhile the value of imported goods declined by 9 % y-o-y in during the same quarter. The lower import bill was thanks to a decline in the imports of vehicles, boilers and petroleum products from South Africa and lower diamond imports from Botswana
“Significantly higher international copper and zinc prices over the past year have, disappointingly, not translated into substantial increases in refined Namibian copper and zinc exports. Also, despite a recovery in Namdeb’s diamond production, following extended planned maintenance of its main diamond-mining sea vessel in Q2 2016, DeBeers’ rough diamond auction sales have been lackluster. Furthermore, the uranium price has remained severely depressed, at close to 13-year lows, which has weighed on uranium exports,” PSG Wealth Management Namibia said.
Looking ahead, PSG expects the quarterly trade deficit to narrow slightly during the rest of 2017 on the back of an expected recovery in diamond sales and continued growth in gold exports, while imports are expected to remain subdued due to weak local demand and low construction activity (due to the completion of major mining projects and governmental budget cuts to capital projects).
The country’s major export destinations in during this quarter were South Africa (23% of total exports), Switzerland (14.5%), Botswana (12.3%) and Spain (6.4%). While most of its imports were sourced from South Africa (60.4% of total imports), Botswana (6.9%), Bulgaria (4.4%), Zambia (4.3%) and China (3.7%).
The leading import commodities were petroleum products, vehicles, boilers and diamonds, while top export products were diamonds, copper (ores and cathodes), fish and livestock.