Stable demand for Botswana’s rough diamonds resulted in flat exports in the first quarter of 2018, according to recent data.
Outbound shipments for the January-to-March period slid less than 1% to $911 million, from $912.6 million last year, the Bank of Botswana said.
In January, rough exports totaled $339.7 million, while shipments for February came to $229 million, and March results were $342.3 million.
“Diamond sales in the first quarter of 2018 are firmly in line with the same period last year, suggesting demand is still firm in the main markets ÔÇö the US, China and India,” according to S&P Global Ratings, which assesses countries’ economic potential.
Botswana’s economy is largely dependent on its rough-diamond trade. S&P maintained its current credit rating and its “stable” outlook for the African nation in an update last week, citing steady diamond demand.
“The stable outlook reflects our view that production levels in Botswana’s diamond sector will remain relatively robust, which will in turn support government and export revenues and economic growth over the next 12 to 24 months,” S&P said.
S&P predicted Botswana’s economy would grow 3.5% in real terms ÔÇö taking into account inflation ÔÇö in 2018 due to stable demand for diamonds and its expectations of strong production.
The government statistics agency recently said that the country’s trade deficit during the month of February was influenced by a drop in exports of Diamonds during that month, a monthly trade digest prepared by Statistics Botswana (SB) shows.
The SB data shows that Botswana recorded a trade deficit of P1, 054.3 million during February 2018. The data however further shows that diamonds exports made a significant contribution to the total exports figure pegged at P3, 480.6 million. The share of the diamonds on the total exports was 86 percent. The much adored commodity however recorded a highest drop of 39.6 percent (P1, 966.0 million) from P4, 958.6 million in January 2018 to P2, 992.6 million during the current period.
On the imports side, value for February 2018, compared to that of the same month in 2017 shows an increase of 12.2 percent (P493.7 million), from P4, 041.3 million recorded during February 2017 to P4, 535.0 million recorded during February 2018. Statistics Botswana says the increase was mainly attributed to imports of Diamonds which recorded an increase of 79.8 percent (P706.7 million) from P885.6 million during February 2017 to P1, 592.2 million in February 2018. Vehicles & Transport Equipment also recorded an increase of 56.0 percent (P155.2 million) from P227.2 million during February 2017 to P432.4 million in the current period.