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Trade deficit widens in November

Namibia’s trade deficit widened to N$1.6 billion in November according to monthly trade statistics released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) this week.
The NSA attributed the increase in the trade deficit, which went up by 60% compared to the revised previous month’s deficit of N$1 billion, to a high import bill of N$5.7 billion against export earnings of only N$4.1 billion.
The November 2013 trade deficit was, however, still better than the N$2.5 billion recorded in the same month in 2012.
The NSA said imports in November were driven by an increase in domestic demand for vehicles, boilers, precious stones (diamonds), electrical machinery and equipment as well as articles of iron and steel. Imports were mainly sourced from South Africa, Botswana, China and Zambia. The Export Processing Zone (EPZ) also contributed significantly as a major source of imports for Namibia.
“These five markets accounted for 90.1% of Namibia’s imports during the month under review. Namibia’s import expenditure from other countries outside the top five was relatively insignificant in November 2013, accounting for merely 9.9% compared to 16.2% recorded in October 2013 and 18% a year ago.

The monthly trade figures also show that expenditure on imports showed a decline of 8.3% from N$6.2 billion in October. When compared to the same month of 2012, imports declined by 1.6 % from N$5.8 billion.
Namibia’s major export destinations in November 2013 in order of values were Botswana, South Africa, Switzerland, Angola and the United States of America. These five destinations accounted for 69.1% of total exports.
Exported commodities were dominated by precious stones (diamonds); ores; fish; boilers and vehicles. These five products accounted for 68.9% of total earnings, down from 73% in the previous month, but up from 56.3% in the same month of the preceding year.
Exports of unprocessed diamonds with a value of N$907 million; and boilers and beers with a combined value of N$288 million resulted in a high total export value to Botswana and South Africa respectively.
Compared to October’s figure of N$5.2 billion, export earnings registered a decline of 20.7%. However, export earnings recorded a 26.8 % increase from N$3.3 billion a year ago.
The NSA said Namibia’s imports and exports were transported mostly by road followed by air and sea transport.

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