Namibia exported diamonds worth N$3.3 billion in March, reflecting a N$1.3 billion month-on-month increase from the N$2 billion that the country exported in February this year.
The commodity was the highest contributor to the country’s exports for the month, which stood at N$10.2 billion, an increase from the N$8.1 billion recorded in February this year.
Uranium at N$1.5 billion and fish at N$1.3 billion were the second and third highest commodities exported out of Namibia.
Uranium exports have decreased for March this year compared to March 2022 by 30.2% year-on-year, however, precious stones and fish exports have increased in value by 115.0% year-on-year and 37.8% year-on-year, respectively.
Namibia’s diamonds, which accounted for 32.4% of total exports for March, were mostly destined to Botswana, United Arab Emirates and Belgium.
Uranium, which accounts for 14.4% of the total exports for the same month, was destined for France and China, while fish (12.5% of exports for March) went to Spain, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to Namibia Statistic Agency (NSA), in March 2023, a total of N$4.3 billion, representing a 42.4% share of total exports left the country by air.
“Goods exported via Sea accounted for 34.4% of total exports, of which its export basket was mainly made up of uranium, fish and copper blisters. Lastly, road transportation accounted for 23.2% and petroleum oils, fish and live animals were the most exported commodities via the respective mode of transport,” NSA’s CEO Alex Shimuafeni stated.
The Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) on Tuesday announced that the corridor cargo volumes entering and leaving the hinterland increased by 50% year-on-year, climbing from 1,639,510 tonnes to 2,464,123 tonnes.
These are the volume throughput recorded for the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz, going to and coming from the target markets of Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Malawi, South Africa, Zambia as well as Zimbabwe, the group said.
Despite the country’s 26.3% month-on-month increase in exports, however, Namibia’s trade deficit continued to significantly worsen, recording a trade deficit amounting to N$2.2 billion. The gap grew by N$1.8 billion month-on-month, from the N$412 million suffered in February.
The country imported goods worth N$12.4 billion, reflecting an increase of 45.5% month-on-month and 32.2% on a yearly basis.
While Namibia witnessed trade surpluses with Botswana of N$2.1 billion, France (N$847 million) and Zambia (N$666 million), the country’s dependence on South Africa continued to be highlighted with a N$2.7 billion trade deficit, while trade deficit of N$1.2 billion and N$872 million were reported with Peru and China respectively.
The highest import bill was petroleum at N$2.2 billion, followed by copper at N$1.5 billion and vehicles for the transport of goods at N$622 million.
According to the economists at Simonis Storm Securities, the constant loadshedding in South Africa has presented an opportunity for Namibia to take market share from other ports in the region, but certain reforms are still necessary to improve the country’s score on indicators such as timeliness, logistics competence and quality.
“In light of this, our deteriorating trade balance is likely to be driven more by external factors – such as lower factory orders and weaker growth in our trading partner countries – than domestic factors,” Simonis Storm said.