Imports increase by another US$20 million as raw products dominate export list

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By Alois Vinga

IMPORTS into Zimbabwe increased by a further US$20 million in May while raw products dominated the export list signifying declining manufacturing levels in the economy, a report by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has revealed.

According to the Central Bank’s latest monthly economic review for the period ending May 2019, merchandise imports stood at US$436.8 million, a 4.8 % increase from the US$416.7 million recorded in April 2019.

“In terms of proportions, diesel accounted for 15.9%, unleaded petrol, 7.6%; and medicines, 1.2% of total imports,” the monthly report said.

Other products dominating the list included soya bean oil, road tractors motor vehicles and wheat.

South Africa continued to dominate the country’s major import sources at 38.2% of total imports, followed by Singapore 27.9%, China 7.4%; Mauritius 3% and India 2.3%.

The country’s merchandise trade deficit narrowed to US$93.6 million in May 2019, from US$139.7 million in April 2019.

Merchandise exports increased by 24 %, from US$277 million in April 2019 to US$343 million in May 2019 while products in their raw state like unprocessed gold, nickel mattes, ferro-chrome, flue-cured tobacco, industrial diamonds and jewelry, chromium ores dominated the list.

Notably, for the period ending May 2019, annual broad money supply growth increased by 12.37 percentage points. The growth reflected an increase in broad money stock, from $8 258.92 million in May 2018 to $13,009.04 million in May 2019.

“Part of the increase in broad money supply was due to the valuation of the foreign currency deposits in local currency. The annual growth in money supply was, in large part, attributable to expansions in demand deposits, 69 %; negotiable certificates of deposits, 58 %; currency in circulation, 31 %; and time deposits, 12 %.

“Measured on a month-on-month basis, broad money supply stood at $13,009.04 million in May 2019, a 14.58% increase from $11,353.37 million registered in April 2019,” added the review.