Friday, October 23, 2020

Sluggish diamond sales widen Botswana’s Trade deficit in June

Botswana’s Trade balance continue to deteriorate on account of a slowdown in sales of diamonds, latest trade data compiled by Statistics Botswana (SB) shows.

A monthly digest on International Trade put together by Statistics Botswana shows that   Botswana’s overall exports amounted to P943.5 million, a decrease of 70.3 percent (P2, 228.5 million) compared to the revised May 2020 value of P3, 172.0 million. On the contrary, the data shows that Botswana’s imports stood at P7, 251.8 million, displaying an increase of 45.4 percent from the revised May 2020 value of P4, 989.1 million

The data shows that while there has been a slow down in diamond sales, the precious stones remain the most exported commodity from Botswana. A break down of the exports shows that the most exported commodities from Botswana were Diamonds, Machinery & Electrical Equipment and Salt & Soda Ash at 58.2, 10.7, and 8.2 percent, respectively.

The June digest further shows that from Botswana’s total exports of P 943.5 million in June,  58.2 percent (P549.5 million) were to Diamonds.

With Botswana’s diamond mining partner – De Beers Mining Company now left with only three sales cycles left, the year 2020 is proving to be most challenging in over a decade.

De Beers holds ten Global Sightholder Sales and Auction Sales every year in Gaborone and the sights or auction sales are restricted to its top 80 Sightholders who buy the diamond packages at a price determined by De Beers.

The diamond mining giant said last week that the restrictions on the movement of people and products in various jurisdictions around the globe, has forced the company to continue implementing a more flexible approach to rough diamond sales during the sixth and seventh sales cycles of 2020.

“Diamond markets showed some continued improvement throughout August and into September as Covid-19 restrictions continued to ease in various locations, and manufacturers focused on meeting retail demand for polished diamonds, particularly in certain product areas,” said Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group.

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