Harare - Zimbabwe’s trade deficit with South Africa amounted to US$353m for the year ended December 31 2012, the Zimbabwe Statistical Office (Zimstats) has said.
According to figures from Zimstats seen by Fin24, imports from South Africa amounted to $3.207bn while exports to South Africa totalled $2.674bn. Zimbabwe’s exports to South Africa are however dominated by mineral exports.
Overall, Zimbabwe’s trade deficit in the year to December stood at $3.6bn after imports of $7.48bn and exports of $3.88bn.
Zimbabwe imported mostly fertilisers, diesel, petroleum oils, motor cars, phone sets and wheat. The country’s exporting base is mainly in the extractive sector which includes industrial diamonds, nickel mattes and semi-manufactured gold as well as flue-cured tobacco.
The poor performance of exports is linked to unreliable supplies and inability to compete on price. In 1992, more than a quarter of Zimbabwean firms were exporters. However, according to the World Bank fewer than 10% of the firms are now exporting their outputs.
In general, lack of short-term finance for exports is limiting export-led growth for Zimbabwean firms with the potential to compete globally.
*Malcom Sharara is Fin24's correspondent in Zimbabwe.
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