The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) yesterday confirmed that the domestic economy indeed contracted by 1.9 percent in the third quarter of 2017, compared to a decline of 0.4 percent registered in the corresponding quarter of 2016.
According to Statistician General and CEO of the NSA Alex Shimuafeni, the poor performance was mainly attributed to construction, wholesale and retail trade, electricity and water and fishing sectors that recorded contraction in real value added of 36.9 percent, 4.4 percent, 5.5 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.
In a statement released yesterday, Shimuafeni also pointed out that weaker performance was also observed in sectors, such as the public administration and education sectors, that registered declines in real value added of 4 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
In addition, agriculture, hotels and restaurants, as well as financial intermediation sectors, recorded slower growth rates in real value added of 5.3 percent, 0.1 percent and 0.8 percent in the third quarter of 2017, compared to string growth of 14 percent, 6.4 percent and 3.9 percent recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2016.
Commenting on the latest statistics, Shimuafeni noted that in contrast to poor performance, sectors such as mining, quarrying and manufacturing, posted stronger growth of 11.3 percent and 0.8 percent in real value added, respectively.
The NSA also yesterday released the latest Consumer Price Index for November 2017, which indicates that the annual inflation rate stood at 5.2 percent, as compared to 7.3 percent recorded in November 2016, registering a decrease of 2.1 percentage points. On a monthly basis the inflation rate increased to 0.3 percent from 0.1 percent registered a month earlier.
Shimuafeni explained that the increase in general price levels over the year emanated mainly from housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (8.6 percent), education (7.8 percent), hotels, cafes and restaurants 96.7 percent), transport (6.1 percent) and health (5.7 percent).
The monthly and annual inflation rates for goods were estimated at 0.4 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively, while those for services stood at zero and eight percent, respectively. The corresponding rates recorded during the same period last year stood at 0.4 and 7.9 percent and zero and 6.6, respectively.
The highest contributors to inflation in November 2017 were housing, water and electricity, and transport, which contributed 45.8 and 15.7 percent, respectively. The average annual and average monthly inflation rates for January to November 2017 were estimated at 6.3 percent and 0.5 percent, while the corresponding rates registered during the same period a year earlier stood at 6.7 percent 0.6 percent, respectively.
In terms of third quarter trade statistics, the third quarter of 2017 recorded a trade deficit amounting to N$8.233 million, compared to N$8.185 million witnessed during the same quarter of the preceding year. This resulted in worsening of the deficit by 0.6 percent, mainly attributable to a decline in exports.
Overall exports declined by 2.5 percent to N$15,494 million compared to N$15,884 million recorded in the same period last year. Similarly, imports plunged by 1.4 percent to N$23,728 million after recording N$24,069 million in the same quarter last year.
Namibia’s key export markets were South Africa (N$3,697 million), Botswana (N$2,643 million), Switzerland (N$1,912 million), China (N$1,027 million) and Spain (N$872 million). In terms of commodities, diamonds, jewellery and precious metals, fish, metal ore and concentrates, copper cathodes and live animals were the major export products over the period, accounting for 75.1 percent of overall export.