The three months up to the end of September this year have not been good for Namibia’s export trade with the country only earning N$13.9 billion, which is N$2 billion less than the N$15.9 billion earned in the second quarter of the year. According to the Namibia Statistic Agency (NSA), the country’s trade deficit increased to N$10.5 billion in the third quarter from N$5.2 billion recorded in the preceding quarter a year earlier.
“The widening deficit is attributed to an increase in the import bill and a contraction in export earnings,” reports the NSA in the just released Quarterly Trade Statistics Bulletin for the third quarter of this year.
The drop in exports during the quarter is reflected in value of commodities such as fish, copper ore and zinc, with copper ore and zinc declining the most by 35 percent each. Exports of copper ore fell mostly due to the decrease in foreign demand from France and Switzerland, while the drop in zinc exports is due to a decline in demand by South Africa and Singapore.
In fact, the overall export revenue from Namibia’s top five leading export commodities for the quarter, which were diamonds, fish, copper cathodes, copper ore and zinc, declined by 16.8 percent to account for a mere N$9.9 billion compared to the N$11.9 billion revenue generated in the previous quarter.
Nevertheless demand for copper cathodes went up 100 percent to account for N$1.8 billion, compared to N$808 million sold in the third quarter of 2014, largely due to demand by Switzerland and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“In addition, exports of electrical machinery and live animals also rose significantly while diamond exports rose but only by a mere 0.1 percent,” says the report.
Fish exports also declined due to low demand mostly by Germany, Mozambique and Australia whose imports of local fish dropped by 58 percent, 57 percent and 13 percent respectively.
“In addition, Namibia’s largest export market for fish, Spain, did not record any significant growth in fish imports from Namibia,” says the report.
On the other hand, other major fish export destinations, which include DRC, South Africa, Zambia and Portugal recorded significant increases in imports of Namibian fish. They accounted for 42 percent of Namibia’s total fish exports, down from 33 percent in the corresponding period a year ago.
DRC accounted for the largest share of 15 percent of total fish exports, followed by South Africa with a share of 14 percent, Zambia at 8 percent, while 5 percent was contributed by Portugal.
Meanwhile the NSA reports that the country’s trade deficit increased to N$10.5 billion in the third quarter from N$5.2 billion recorded in the preceding quarter a year earlier. “The widening deficit is attributed to an increase in the import bill and a contraction in export earnings,” says the report.
The import bill rose by 22 percent to account for N$24.5 billion, upward from N$19.9 billion in the same period a year ago.
On the other hand, export revenue fell by 6 percent to account for N$13.9 billion as compared to N$14.8 billion reported in the same quarter last year.
During the quarter under review the key export markets were Botswana at N$3.2 billion, South Africa at N$3 billion, Switzerland at N$1.8 billion, China at N$856 million and Spain at N$830 million.
Namibia’s imports were mainly sourced from South Africa, from where N$15.6 billion worth of goods were imported. The other sources of imports were China at N$1.5 billion, the DRC from where we imported N$835 million worth of goods, Zambia at N$728 million and Mozambique which exported goods worth N$653 million to Namibia.
The commodities imported were dominated by mineral fuels and oils, vehicles, boilers, copper cathodes, electrical machinery and equipment.