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Trade swings into deficit as diamond exports drop

Diamonds exports fell by 40% in March, 2017
A steep decline in diamond exports led to the countryís trade balance recording a deficit of P215.2 million in March 2017.

This follows surpluses registered during January and February 2017 at values of P3.2 billion and P2.5 billion respectively.

International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) released on Tuesday by Statistics Botswana (SB) said the deficit was due to the significant decrease of 39.7% in total exports during the month under review.

Total exports in March 2017 were valued at P4.08 billion from the February 2017 value of P6.76 billion.

The decrease was attributed to a drop of 40% or P2.54 billion in diamond exports, from P6.35 billion in February 2017 to P3.81 billion in March 2017.

SB said machinery and electrical equipment is another commodity that contributed significantly to the decrease in total exports, having recorded a decrease of 56.5% from P179 million during February 2017 to P77.9 million in March 2017.

The total exports value for March 2017 compared to that of the corresponding month in last year shows a decrease of 36.6% or P2.36 billion from P6.43 billion to P4.08 billion.

The decrease is blamed on the drop in exports of diamonds, which fell by 30.2% from P5.46 billion in March 2016 to P3.81 billion during the period under review.

According to SB, there was also a

drop of copper and nickel exports by almost 100%, from P323.8 million in March 2016 to P200,000 in March 2017 due to the closure of BCL Mine during the last quarter of 2016.

On the other hand, during March 2017 total imports were valued at P4.29 billion, showing a slight increase of P1.1 million from the revised February value of P4.29 billion.

This slight increase was mainly attributed to the increase of more than 100% in diamond imports from P902.3 million in February 2017 to P1.84 billion during March 2017.

Vehicles and transport equipment also contributed to the increase having recorded an increase of 34.1% from P272.4 million in February 2017 to P365.4 million in March 2017.

Comparison of imports for March 2017 and March 2016 shows a decrease of 34% from P6.49 billion recorded during March 2016 to P4.29 billion recorded during the reference month.

The decrease was mainly due to the 60.7% decrease in imports of fuel from P1 billion during March 2016 to P394.2 million in March 2017. Imports of diamonds also dropped by 18.6% or P421.2 million from P2.26 billion in March 2016 to P1.84 billion in March 2017.




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