Botswana’s imports and exports fell in the month of July as the country’s major source of trade declined in that periodÔÇöa development which also shows that the domestic economy is still reliant on minerals mainly diamonds.
Statistics Botswana said on International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) Monthly Digest which summaries Total Merchandise Trade from January 2012 to July 2015 that imports were down 36.6 percent while exports went down by 37.9 percent.
The government statistics agency revealed that the July 2015 total imports were valued at P5, 079.1 million, which is a decrease from the June 2015 value of P8, 010.2 million. It explained that the decrease in July 2015 total imports as compared to June 2015 is attributed to low value of diamonds imports.
“A comparison of July 2015 import figures shows a decrease of P465.4 million, representing a decrease of 8.4 percent from the P5, 544.5 million recorded during the same month of the previous year. Diamonds importation also played a good part in the decrease of imports value from July 2014 to July 2015,” said the agency.
On the other hand, in the same month total exports were valued at P4, 592.7 million, a decrease of 37.9 percent (P2, 807.8 million) from the June 2015 value of P7, 400.5 million.
“As a result of rough diamonds from the aggregation process not being exported on a monthly basis, an upward and downward trend in the value of total exports is observed,” Statistics Botswana said.
“Values are high during the months when rough diamonds from the aggregation process are exported and low when there is no significant exportation from the aggregation process”
Total exports show a fall of 44.4 percent (P3, 668.0 million) from the July 2014 value of P8, 260.7 million to P4, 592.7 million in July 2015.
Despite the slump in diamond trade, statistics show that composition of imports by principal commodities for July 2015, showed that diamonds contributed the most to total imports (P5, 079.1 million), having contributed 21.5 percent (P1, 092.0 million), followed by Machinery & Electrical Equipment with 17.6 percent (P892.1 million) and Fuel with 15.1 percent (P765.8 million).
Equally, the July 2015 total exports were valued at P4, 592.7 million, with 80.9 percent (P3, 714.5 million) attributed to exports of diamonds. These diamonds consist of diamonds from diamond polishing companies as well as those from the aggregation process.
The Botswana economy is still much dependent on mining although recently there have been green shoots and non-mining entities like tourism have helped mining. Statistics Botswana said a trade deficit of P486.4 million was recorded in July 2015.