Botswana posted P713.0 million trade surplus in December 2021, official data compiled by Statistics Botswana showed this past week, amid higher volumes and prices of exported goods.
The December trade surplus follows a revised trade deficit of P1, 836.4 million for November 2021.
The latest results of the monthly International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) could be a sign that that the improvement in the diamond industry remains the only solution in lifting the local economy’s waning fortunes. This past week, the global mining giant De Beers, which is 85 percent, owned by Anglo American and 15 percent by Botswana government and sells rough diamonds, said that the long-term outlook for diamond jewelry demand remains positive.
As expected, the December increase in the country’s export 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.