Zim exports surge to $2,2bn

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s total export receipts for the eleven months to November 2015 stood at $2,2 billion with gold exports accounting for 24 percent of the earnings at $503 million, it has emerged.

Data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) indicates that the yellow metal is currently dominating the country’s exports, overtaking tobacco which is traditionally the country’s biggest export earner after tobacco output this year declined.

Gold dominated the earnings as deliveries from small-scale miners to Fidelity, which were only 1,7 tonnes in 2013, registered 5,9 tonnes for the period January to October 2015.

The national statistics agency noted that tobacco had slipped to record $481,2 million, contributing 23 percent to the total, while nickel ore and concentrates contributed $192,3 million, ferrochrome $134,8 million as industrial diamonds raised $137,6 million.

While Sugar cane exports contributed $95,5 million, electrical energy rakes in $37 million.

During the period under review, the country exported platinum worth $36,5 million, as the country’s biggest platinum miner Zimplats continues on a recovery path.

This comes as Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in his 2016 National Budget predicted that Zimbabwe’s biggest export source — the mining sector — was going to register a 2,4 percent growth next year buoyed by increased output in  gold production likely to boost mineral export earnings.

According to Chinamasa, in 2016, overall gold production from all producers is projected at 20,1 tonnes, up from this year’s anticipated 18,7 tonnes notwithstanding softening of gold bullion prices.

However, despite the earnings, the country’s trade deficit widened to $2,6 billion in the 10 months to October 2015, as the country’s economy continues to slide into recession in the absence of strong economic reforms.

Zimstat data shows that the country imported goods worth $4,6 billion between January and October this year while exports amounted to $2 billion in the first 10 months.

Economic experts say the latest statistics prove that it would require good leadership to revive Zimbabwean industries that are choking from intense competition from cheap imports. The country’s trade deficit stood at $1,83 billion in the first six months of this year.

In the period under review, Zimbabwe imported goods valued at $1,817 billion from South Africa and exported $1,3 billion to its neighbour, while the country exported $1,3 million goods to china and imported $370 million worth of goods from the Asian country.

But, economic experts say the trade deficit will continue to widen in the absence of strong economic reforms and a stimulus package to industry.

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