Merchandise trade reaches N$18b

By Hilary Mare

THE month of September saw Namibia’s total merchandise trade reaching to the level of N$18.1 billion, which is 10.8 percent and 14.5 percent higher than N$16.4 billion recorded in August 2020 and N$15.8 billion recorded in September 2019, Statistician General at the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) Alex Shimuafeni has said.

He however said that Namibia’s trade balance remained at a deficit of N$1.4 billion in August 2020, but improved from a deficit of N$1.9 billion recorded in September 2019.

“Namibia’s trade composition by partner was skewed towards a few countries. China emerged as Namibia’s largest export market while South Africa maintained its position as the number one source of imports for Namibia. The composition of goods exported remained the same mainly comprising of minerals such as non-ferrous metals, metalliferous ores and metal scrap, non-metallic mineral manufactures, as well as non-monetary gold.

“Fish remained the only non-mineral products among the top five list of exports. On the other hand, the import basket comprised mainly of non-ferrous metals, petroleum and petroleum products; metalliferous ores and metal scrap, vehicles and inorganic chemicals,” Shimuafeni said.

The September trade figures indicate that total re-exports decreased by 7.7 percent month-on-month and increased by 61.8 percent year-on-year to register N$4.0 billion from N$4.4 billion recorded in August 2020 and N$2.5 billion in September 2019. The non-ferrous metals took the largest share of re-exports, constituting a share of 61.1 percent of total re-exports mainly to China and Hong Kong. The non-ferrous metals which were re-exported were mostly sourced from Zambia and DRC.

Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC)) became the largest export destination for Namibia’s goods (mostly copper and uranium) during the month under review, with a market share of 45.3 percent of the total exports. The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the European Union (EU) followed in the second and third positions, accounting for a market share of 21.1 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively.

Exports to SACU comprised mainly of diamonds, live animals, while fish, diamonds and copper were responsible for the large value of exports to the EU. SADC-excluding- SACU followed in fourth place with a share of 8.3 percent due to high exports of fish. Finally, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) came in fifth position with a market share of 7.2 percent. Fish was again the largest export commodity to the COMESA region.

In view of imports, the SACU region emerged as the largest source of imports for Namibia accounting for 35.7 percent of all goods imported (mainly vehicles as well as essential oils and sugars and sugar preparations). Non-ferrous metals were responsible for the high value of imports from COMESA which had a share of 30.8 percent of total imports and hence making it the second largest source of imports into the country. Equally, SADC excluding SACU region accounted for 30.5 percent of Namibia’s total import bill, followed by the EU and BRIC in the fourth and fifth positions with 12.3 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively.