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Botswana’s Exports Declining

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  • By July 2017, Botswana’s exports were valued at P4, 791.7 million, showing a decrease  of 15 percent from the June 2017 value of P5, 635.0 million
  • Comparison of total exports for July 2017 and July 2016 shows a 6.4% decrease

TSHIAMO TABANE

Trade analysts have raised concern that since the beginning of 2016 Botswana has been recording a decline in exports, with the latest monthly international trade statistics showing that in the month of July 2017 the country’s exports decreased by 15 percent.
Following international trade statistics released last week, Statistics Botswana trade analysts stated that during July 2017, Botswana’s exports were valued at P4, 791.7 million, showing a decrease of 15 percent from the June 2017 value of P5, 635.0 million and the analysts explained that this decrease was mainly due to the decrease of 19.8 percent (P1, 027.1 million) in diamonds exports, from P5, 187.3 million in June 2017 to P4, 160.2 million in July 2017.
According to the analysts, comparison of total exports for July 2017 and July 2016 shows a decrease of 6.4 percent (P328.6, million) from P5, 120.3 million recorded in July 2016 to P4, 791.7 million July 2017 and the decrease is attributed to the drop in exports of diamonds and copper & nickel. Diamonds fell by 4.9 percent (P2, 12. 8 million) from P4, 373.0 million in July 2016 to P4, 160.2 million in July 2017 while copper & nickel recorded a decrease of 94.3 percent (P161.2. million) from P171.0 million in July 2016 to P9.8 million reported in July 2017, due to the closure of BCL mines in October 2016, analysts pointed.
“It has been observed that since January 2017, lower trade in exports were recorded when compared to the previous year and these low values were more pronounced in the first quarter of 2017 and to a certain extent in the subsequent quarter,” said Statistician General Anna Majelantle. She stated that as a result of low exports when compared to imports which have been recording increase, Botswana recorded a trade deficit amounting to over P1 million during July 2017.
Statistics Botswana stated that the country’s imports were valued at P5, 797.7 million showing an increase of 29.2 percent (P1, 308.8 million) from the June 2017 value of P4, 489.0 million. According to the statistics agency, the increase in imports was mainly attributed to the increase in imports of commodities such as fuel, machinery & electrical equipment and chemicals & rubber products. Figures from the monthly international trade report released by the statistics office shows that fuel imports increased by 76.4 percent (P497.9 million) from P651.4 million in June 2017 to P1, 149.3 million, machinery & electrical equipment increased by 72.1 percent (P352.3 million) from P488.9 million during June 2017 to P841.2 million in July 2017, chemicals & rubber products also contributed significantly to the increase in imports, having recorded an increase of 66.6 percent (P244.5 million) from P367.3 million in June 2017 to P611.8 million in July 2017.
According to the report, comparison of total imports for July 2017 and July 2016 shows an increase of 8.8 percent (P467.5 million), from P5, 330.2 million recorded during July 2016 and the agency stated that the increase was also attributed mainly to high imports of fuel, machinery & electrical equipment and food, beverages & tobacco.  “Fuel recorded the highest increase of 71.2 percent (P477.8 million) from P671.4 million during July 2016 to P1, 149.3 million in July 2017, Machinery & Electrical Equipment recorded an increase of 18.4 percent (P130.6 million), from P710.5 million during July 2016 to P841.2 million during the month under review, while Food, Beverages & Tobacco increased by 21.8 percent (P125.0 million), from P572.2 million during July 2016 to P697.3 million in July 2017,” states the report.
E-consult economic analyst Keith Jefferies indicated that a sharp decline in exports, when compared to imports, is extremely worrying given the fundamental role of export-led growth to the Botswana’s economy and added that the trend could be indicative of deeper problems ahead. Figures from E-consult shows that the decline in Botswana’s exports started in 2016, indicating that between the first half of 2016 and first half 2017, total exports declined by around 30% with mineral exports decreasing by around 30% while non-mineral exports declined by 40%. Copper nickel exports declined by 100 percent, diamonds exports (22 percent), Gold exports (37 percent), Machinery & electrical equipment (30 percent), Meat exports (51%), Textiles (41 percent).

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