Namibia’s trade deficit ballooned by N$1.5 billion in a month from N$1.3 billion recorded in April 2023.
This has brought the country merchandise trade account in negative of the N$2.8 billion in April 2023.
This is according to the Namibia Statistics Agency’s (NSA) latest trade bulletin for May.
While Namibia’s export earnings for May increased by 22.4% from N$7.6 billion recorded in the previous month to N$9.3 billion, the import bill for May also increased by 35.8% when compared to N$8.9 billion recorded the previous month.
The biggest contributor to Namibia’s trade deficit for May was petroleum oils, recording an import bill of N$2.9 billion and a deficit of N$2.5 billion.
In second place was copper ores and concentrates with an import bill of N$1.7 billion and a deficit of N$1.7 billion.
In May, Namibia imported sugars, molasses and honey valued at N$124.9 million, which was mostly sourced from South Africa.
In the same month, however, Namibia only managed to export these same products at a value of N$9.8 million of which N$9.7 million was re-exports and was mostly destined to Zimbabwe. Re-exports are commodities imported by residents who assume short-term ownership of the commodities. At least N$0.1 million worth of the same products was domestic exports and was destined to Angola.
Over the previous 12 months, that is May 2022 to May 2023, the value of sugars, molasses and honey imported averaged N$141.5 million with the largest value of N$313.9 million recorded in August 2022 and the lowest value of N$44.1 million recorded in June 2022, the NSA reported.
South Africa continued to be Namibia’s largest source of imports in May.
“On the other hand, Namibia exported uranium and precious stones (diamonds) worth N$2.0 billion each. Uranium recorded a trade surplus of N$2.0 billion while precious stones (diamonds) yielded a trade surplus of N$1.7 billion. The country continued to be a net exporter of fish with N$1.1 billion worth of fish exported and only N$11 million imported during the month under review,” the NSA stated.
Most exported Namibia’s goods were destined for SACU in May, with a share of 36.8% of total exports, while OECD and BRICS followed in second and third position with 26.4% and 18.3% of Namibia’s total exports, respectively.
The EU and SADC, excluding SACU, took the fourth and fifth positions accounting for 15.7% and 13.4% of the total exports.
In May 2023, the manufacturing industry attained the most exported goods valued at N$4.4 billion, absorbing 47.4% of total exports, however products from the industry decreased by N$473 million from the value recorded in April 2023.
Products from the mining and quarrying industry came in second position absorbing 47.0% of the export bill in May. Exported goods from this industry increased by N$2.1 billion when compared to the value recorded in April.
Namibia recorded trade surpluses with Botswana, the country’s largest export market for May, of N$1.7 billion, with Canada N$691 million and China N$679 million.
“However, trade deficits were recorded against South Africa at N$2.4 billion, India and Peru both recorded a trade deficit of N$1.5 billion each during the period under review,” NSA reported.