Windhoek – Some of the more frequent economic statistics that are released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) include the National accounts, inflation and trade statistics.
Trade statistics and the national accounts are released on a quarterly as well as annual basis. Last Thursday the NSA released the Namibia Consumer Price Index, as well as Trade Statistics.
The Namibia Consumer Price Index calculates the inflation of the country. Inflation is basically the illustration of the change in the cost of living over a certain period of time.
Hence, in layman’s terms, inflation can be used as a proxy for the cost of living. The NSA thus measures the movement in the general level of prices in two ways, from a year-to-year basis, as well as from a month-to-month basis.
Looking then at the latest figures released last week, the October 2016 annual inflation rate increased to 7.3 percent, as compared to 3.4 percent registered in October 2015.
This movement in price changes was mainly attributed to the food and non – alcoholic beverages; hotels, cafes and restaurants as well as furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house category.
On a monthly basis the inflation for October 2016 stood at 0.5 percent as compared to 0.2 percent recorded a month earlier.
In general, Namibian inflation is largely determined by four categories; namely, housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; food and non-alcoholic beverages; transport and alcoholic beverages and tobacco. These four categories by themselves represent well over 70 per cent of the total NCPI basket.
The other statistics we released was the 3rd Quarter Trade Statistics Bulletin. These trade statistics are an account of all transactions of goods traded between a Namibia and the rest of the world.
It also measures the values and quantities of goods that are imported into and exported out of Namibia. These trade statistics hence remain one of the major contributing indicators to the development of our economy and its competitiveness on the world market.
So, what do the figures tell us? Namibia’s overall trade stood at N$40,554 billion in the 3rd quarter of 2016. This is a 16.6 percent increase from the N$34,795 billion that was witnessed in the corresponding period of 2015; however it is also a 2 percent decline from the N$41,433 billion recorded in the previous quarter.
Our overall export revenue for the period under review stood at N$16,858 billion while our import bill was valued at N$23,696. This resulted in a trade deficit estimated at N$6,838 billion. This deficit is narrowed down by 38.4 percent, as compared to revised figure of the 2015 3rd quarter.
Namibia’s export market was dominated by South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Switzerland and the Export Processing Zone in that order, which absorbed a good N$ 10,517 billion of Namibia’s total exports.
Our top products exported included diamonds, fish, articles of iron or steel, copper ores and copper cathodes.
Together these commodities made up a good 76 percent of the total exports sales.
Our major export destinations were SADC, SACU and the European Union.
With regards to imports, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, USA and China were the main source of imports during the period under review and make up slightly more than 83 percent of Namibia’s total imports from the rest of the world.
Our main import products consisted of vehicles, mineral fuels and oils, boilers, diamonds and electrical machinery. Our imports are regionally dominated by SADC, and SACU.
What these trade statistics show is that Namibia remains largely an exporter of raw materials and an importer of finished products.
For these statistics and more, please visit www.nsa.org.na or come to the offices of the NSA, where you will be readily assisted.
* Iipumbu Sakaria is the deputy director of strategic communications at the NSA.