Trade merchandise surges to N$17 billion

• By Hilary Mare

THE month of August saw Namibia’s total merchandise trade surging to N$17.1 billion, an increase of 27.1 percent and 3.7 percent when compared to the level of N$13.4 billion and N$16.5 billion recorded in July 2021 and August 2020, respectively.

This is revealed in Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA)’s quarterly trade statistics bulletin for August 2021.

However, the bulletin also notes that the country’s trade balance remained in a deficit amounting to N$2.9 billion from N$3.5 billion recorded in July 2021 and N$1.4 billion obtained in August 2020.

“Namibia’s trade composition by partner showed that China emerged as Namibia’s largest market for exports whereas South Africa maintained her position as the largest import market for the country. The composition of the export basket mainly comprised of minerals such as copper, precious stones (diamonds), non-monetary gold, and uranium as well ores and concentrates of base metals.

“As usual, fish remained the only non-mineral product among the top five exports. On the other hand, the import basket comprised mainly of copper, petroleum oils, precious stones (diamonds), motor vehicles (for transportation of persons) and; ores and concentrates of base metals,” NSA statistician general and CEO, Alex Shimuafeni said.

The bulletin also notes that re-exports surged, rising by 30.3 percent month-on-month and declining by 20.4 percent year-on-year. Copper had the largest share of all goods re-exported, accounting for 69.7 percent of total re-exports mainly destined to China, Spain, Netherlands and France.

Most of the re-exported copper originated from Zambia and DRC. Notably, copper featured as the most dominant commodity on both trade flows indicating the vital role the country plays as a major logistics hub for SADC in terms of copper.

“Among the various industries of the economy, the manufacturing industry emerged as the largest exporting industry. In August 2021 the industry exported goods worth N$4.9 billion, representing 68.8 percent of total exports. Out of the N$4.9 billion worth of manufactured goods exported, 65.3 percent are re-exports; this reflects that Namibia has a small manufacturing base.

“Export of goods from this industry rose by N$1.1 billion from N$3.8 billion in July 2021. Additionally, goods from the mining and quarrying industry came in the second place after recording exports valued at N$1.9 billion. Exports from that industry rose by N$1 billion from N$840 million recorded in July 2021,” extended Shimuafeni.

The demand side also showed a similar trend, with goods from the manufacturing industry emerging on top of the list of goods imported, with an import bill of N$7.8 billion in August 2021. An increase of N$1.3 billion from N$6.5 billion recorded in July. Furthermore, the mining and quarrying industry imported goods to the tune of N$2.1 billion representing an increase of N$302 million from N$1.8 billion in July.