Sunday, December 3, 2023

Fifth consecutive trade surplus as copper comes to the party

Botswana reported its strongest quarterly trade surplus since 2019, powered by copper exports in addition to the economy’s mainstay diamonds.

Statistics Botswana’s recently released trade data for July shows that the country exported merchandise valued at P7.6 billion. Diamonds led with a contribution of 82.4 percent (P6.3 billion), followed by copper (P612.8 million), while machinery and electrical equipment exports came at P274.3 million during the month.

The import bill was P6.9 billion, with fuel accounting for 20.8 percent of the bill (P1.4 billion), food, beverages and tobacco took the second spot at 15.6 percent (P1.1 billion), while machinery and electrical equipment imports accounted 13.8 percent (P951.8 million). Chemicals and rubber products contributed 11.8 percent (P812.9 million) and diamond imports ranked fifth at 10.9 percent (P754.4 million).

With the export revenues higher than the import bill, Botswana recorded a trade surplus of P715 million, the fifth consecutive surplus of the year. In the first quarter of 2023, the country scored a P1.5 billion trade surplus, and this ballooned to P3.2 billion in the second quarter.

Though diamonds remain the main export, the country’s positive trade balance is receiving a push from copper exports which have increased in size since Khoemacau mine opened and reached full production in 2022. Sandfire’s Motheo mine is expected to add to the copper exports later this year.

Last year, Botswana recorded an annual trade surplus in more than four years, ending a period of widening trade deficits, with the turnaround propelled by strong diamond sales. The last time Botswana registered an annual positive trade balance was in 2018. The country’s exports amounted to P102.3 billion, up from 2021’s P82.5 billion. The imports value was P99.7 billion, an increase from 2021’ P93.1 billion. With strong export sales against the import receipts, the country registered a trade surplus of P2.6 billion.


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