The government statistics agency, Statistics Botswana (SB,) has said that the country’s trade balance swung to a P175.9 million deficit in July from a P2.6 billion surplus recorded in the previous month.
Trade data compiled by SB researchers shows that in July total exports slipped to P5.1 billion from P8.5 billion in June. On the other hand, imports fell to P5.3 billion from P5.9 billion previously.
The July trade deficit, according to Acting Statistician General Dabilani Buthali, is mainly due to a decrease in imports of fuel and diamonds. Imports of fuel dropped by 41.2 percent (P467.1 million) from P1 132.3 million during June 2016 to P665.2 million in July 2016 while those of diamonds decreased by 10.6 percent (P163.1 million) from P1 542.8 million during June 2016 to P1 379.7 million during July 2016.
Statistics Botswana indicated on Wednesday that the comparison of import figures for July 2016 and July 2015 shows an increase of 2.5 percent (P127.8 million), from P5,149.9 million recorded during July 2015 to P5 277.7 million recorded during the reference month.
“The increase in import value in this case is mainly due to the high value of Chemicals & Rubber Products imports during the current period, having increased by 62.3 percent (P302.4 million) from P485.3 million during July 2015 to P787.7 million in July 2016 (Table 2.1). The other commodity group that contributed to the rise in total imports during July 2016 as compared to July 2015 were diamonds, having increased by 25.4 percent (P279.1 million) from P1 100.6 million during July 2015 to P1 379.7 million during the month under review, said SB said in a statement accompanying the trade figures.
Meanwhile, the trade figures also show that Botswana’s imports for July were mainly from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) which accounted for 76.0 percent of total imports during the month under review. At the same time, it shows that South Africa was the dominant source with a contribution of 63.3 percent (P3, 338.3 million) to total imports during July 2016, followed by Namibia with 12.6 percent (P664.2 million).
The major commodities imported from both South Africa and Namibia were non-industrial diamonds unworked which contributed 12.3 percent (P411.3 million) of total imports from South Africa (P3 338.3 million) while the same commodity accounted for 94.2 percent (P626.0 million) of total imports from Namibia (P658.9 million).