The latest monthly International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) compiled by Statistics Botswana for the month of December 2021 shows that the country once again recorded a trade surplus.
The December surplus could be a sign that the improvement in the diamond industry remains the only solution in lifting the local economy’s waning fortunes.
According to the December 2021 IMTS, the country recorded a trade surplus of P713.0 million. This follows a revised trade deficit of P1, 836.4 million for November 2021.
As expected, the December increase was on the back of improved trade in rough diamonds, with the country selling diamonds valued at P6, 532.7 million. The diamonds sales account for 91.6 percent of the total exports followed by Copper, with 2.2 percent (P153.4 million).
Statistics Botswana’s International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) monthly digest provides a summary of trade statistics on Botswana’s total imports and exports. The December brief shows that total imports were valued at P6, 417.2 million reflecting a decrease of 24.7 percent from the revised November 2021 value of P8, 521.0 million. During the same month, total exports amounted to P7, 130.1 million, displaying an increase of 6.7 percent from the revised November 2021 value of P6, 684.6 million. A further breakdown shows that Diamonds; Fuel; Food, Beverages & Tobacco, Chemicals & Rubber Products and Machinery & Electrical Equipment were the leading import commodity groups; with contributions of 21.6 percent, 18.9 percent, 14.9 percent, 12.6 percent and 12.2 percent respectively. In December 2021, Diamonds and Copper contributed 91.6 percent, and 2.2 percent to total exports, respectively.
Given the numerous trade deficits during 2020/21, the country’s Balance of Payments (BoP) – made up of the current, capital, and financial accounts – have deteriorated at the fastest pace in the last five years, mostly due to the underperformance of the diamond sector.