Total merchandise trade declines in February by 18.4% – Trade balance remains in a deficit
Namibia’s total merchandise trade in February declined to the level of N$13.9 billion, which is 18.4% less than its level of N$17.1 billion in January 2021 and lower by 1.1% from its February 2020 level of N$14.1 billion, the Namibia Statistics Agency’s monthly trade report released on Thursday states.
Statistician General Alex Shimuafeni said during February, Namibia’s trade composition by partner illustrated that China continued as the largest export market while South Africa maintained its first position as Namibia’s largest source of imports.
“The composition of the export basket mainly comprised of minerals such as copper, pearls and precious stones (diamonds), non-monetary gold and copper concentrates. Fish was the only non-mineral products among the top five exports. On the other hand, the import basket comprised mainly of copper, petroleum and petroleum products, motor vehicles, telecommunication equipment and medicinal and pharmaceutical products,” he added.
According to Shimuafeni, the February 2021 trade statistics indicated that re-exports deteriorated, falling by 22.7% month-on-month but improved by 53.6% year-on-year.
“Copper took the largest share of goods that were re-exported, accounting for 62.4% of total re-exports, destined mainly to China, Netherland, Australia, India and Hong Kong. The copper that was re-exported was mostly sourced from Zambia. Important to note is that copper appears to dominate both the export and import side of Namibia’s trade,” he said.
Explaining this, Shimuafeni said this is because some of the copper imported comes under warehousing procedures before it is re-exported. Hence, they form part of total exports (domestic plus re-export).
Meanwhile, Shimuafeni said the country’s trade balance remained in a deficit amounting to N$2.4 billion, widening from a deficit of N$1.8 billion recorded in January 2021 and narrowing from the level N$3.5 billion registered in February 2020.