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HomeBusinessZim Narrows Trade Deficit But Exports Remain Subdued

Zim Narrows Trade Deficit But Exports Remain Subdued

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Zimbabwe’s trade deficit for the month of January 2024, lessened by 42.8 percent to US$152.4 million from US$266.3 million recorded in December 2023 driven by a significant decline in imported goods, latest figures from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) show.

Imports for January amounted to US$692.7 million, a decrease of 15.2% from US$817.0 million recorded in December 2023.

Meanwhile exports remained subdued during the period dropping 1.9 percent to US$540.3 million from US$550.6 million reported in December 2023.

Mineral fuels and mineral oil products (19.9%), Machinery & Mechanical Appliances (11.8%), cereals (8.4%) and Vehicles (8.3%) were among the top ten products imported in the same month.

Zimbabwe has struggled to strengthen its exports due to lackluster industrialization – a situation that has seen its major exports limited to raw commodity minerals and tobacco.

The low levels of industrialization have also resulted in the high propensity to import goods.


Lesser imports and higher exports will boost the country’s balance of trade by yielding a trade surplus which will save the economy of the precious foreign currency to stabilize its volatile Zimbabwe dollar.

However, imports are expected to continue on a downward trend after authorities early February promulgated Statutory Instrument 10A of 2024 to re-introduce duty on basic commodities.

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The affected commodities include maize meal, milk, sugar, rice, flour, salt, bath soap, laundry soap, washing powder and toothpaste with effect from February 1, 2024.

Among the top ten products exported in January 2024 were Tobacco (24.5%), Semi –Manufactured Gold (24.2%), & nickel ores and concentrates (11.9%).

Among the country’s major export destinations in January 2024 were South Africa (30.0%), United Arab Emirates (25.0%) and China (16.1%). The three countries accounted for around seventy-one percent of the total export value of US$540.3 million.

Among the major source countries for imports in January 2024 were South Africa (36.0%) and China (16.4%). The two countries accounted for 52.4% of the total import value of US$692.7 million.

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