The Star Early Edition

Sharp decline in Zimbabwe exports


HARARE: Although the drought in Zimbabwe – as in South Africa – has hammered the maize crop, tobacco, the prime agricultur­al export, appears to be surviving, but overall the economy is in serious decline, with exports dropping to new lows.

South Africa remains Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner.

Zimbabwe’s trade deficit widened to nearly R50 billion by November amid a sharp decline in exports, according to The Source, a business services online publicatio­n. This was the shortfall the government had predicted for the whole year, and some economists are questionin­g whether Zimbabwe is finally in recession.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the drop was connected with the devaluatio­n of the South African rand.

He also predicted that consumer imports would drop in 2016.

Zimbabwe’s top 10 trading partners in 2015 were South Africa, Singapore, Mozambique, China, Zambia, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Botswana, Japan and India.Its main exports are tobacco, gold and diamonds.

The manufactur­ing sector continues to decline, not least because Zimbabwean products, marked up in US dollars, are expensive for South African importers.

Zimbabwe trades in the US dollar since it abandoned its own worthless currency in 2009. – Foreign Service

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