Trade deficit sinks further

Under pressure: Lower revenues from diamond sales are impacting the trade balance as well as budget revenues
Under pressure: Lower revenues from diamond sales are impacting the trade balance as well as budget revenues

The country’s merchandise trade deficit sank deeper to P6.6 billion in November, from a revised shortfall of P4.7 billion in October, as the impact of falling diamond exports continued to worsen.

Statistics Botswana figures estimate that diamond exports in November dropped to P1.3 billion, from a revised P2.4 billion in October, pushing down overall exports from P3.9 billion to about P3 billion. Diamonds accounted for about 60% of exports in October and just over 44% in November.

According to Statistics Botswana data, diamond exports last year slowed from a peak of P7.3 billion in March, to November’s low of P1.3 billion. The merchandise trade deficit, or the relationship between the country’s exports and imports of goods, was at a surplus of P2.9 billion at the end of the third quarter.

However, after the October and November figures, the trade balance for the year to November sank to a deficit of P8.4 billion. Economists associate prolonged trade deficits with depletion of countries’ foreign reserves, weakening of currencies and stronger need for external debt.


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