Botswana’s total exports have almost halved as trade in diamonds continues to falter, according to latest figures by Statistics Botswana. The agency’s International merchandise trade Statistics Monthly Digest for July showed that total exports were valued at P5, 101.9 million, which showed a decrease of 40.0% (P3, 396.9 million) from the June 2016 revised value of P8, 498.8 million.
“This is attributable to decrease in exports of Diamonds which recorded a drop of 42.0 percent (P3, 166.1 million) from P7, 539.0 million recorded during June 2016 to P4, 373.0 million during the month under review,” Stats Botswana said.
Diamonds that are mainly mined by Debswana Diamond Company continues to dominate exports even if sales have declined over the years as global economy continues to face tough times. Of all total exports, diamonds accounted for 85.7% or P4, 373.0 million.
Machinery & Electrical Equipment and Copper Nickel contributed 3.4 percent (P173.0 million) and 3.1% (P156.4 million) respectively, to total exports during the month under review.
Copper Nickel, which is dominated by struggling BCL Mine, also contributed to the decrease in total exports during July 2016, having declined by 48.1% (P144.8 million) from P301.2 million recorded during June 2016 to P156.4 million registered in July 2016.
However, in comparison of July 2016 total exports value to that of July 2015 shows an increase of 11.0% (P507.1 million) from P4, 594.8 million recorded during July 2015 to P5, 101.9 million recorded during July 2016.
This is mainly attributable to exports of Diamonds, which increased by 18.6 percent from P3, 687.1 million during July 2015 to P4, 373.0 million during July 2016.
On the other hand, diamond imports for cutting and polishing also declined in the same month. In July 2016, total imports were valued at P5, 277.7 million, showing a decrease of 10.1% (P593.4 million) from the revised June 2016 value of P5, 871.1 million.
Stats Botswana said, “This is attributable mainly to a decrease in imports of Fuel and Diamonds. Imports of Fuel dropped by 41.2% (P467.1 million) from P1, 132.3 million during June 2016 to P665.2 million in July 2016 while those of diamonds decreased by 10.6% (P163.1 million) from P1, 542.8 million during June 2016 to P1, 379.7 million during July 2016.”
Composition of imports by principal commodities for July 2016 shows that diamonds contributed the most towards total imports (P5, 277.7 million), with 26.1% (P1, 379.7 million). It was followed by Chemicals & Rubber products with 14.9% (P787.7 million) and Machinery & Electrical Equipment with 13.3% (P703.4 million).
On the other hand, fuel contributed 12.6 percent% (P665.2 million) while Food, Beverages & Tobacco made a contribution of 10.8% (P569.4 million) to total imports during the month under review.
Comparison of import figures for July 2016 and July 2015 shows an increase of 2.5% (P127.8 million), from P5, 149.9 million recorded during July 2015 to P5, 277.7 million recorded during the reference month.
The increase in import value in this case is mainly due to the high value of Chemicals & Rubber Products imports during the current period, having increased by 62.3 percent (P302.4 million) from P485.3 million during July 2015 to P787.7 million in July 2016.
Meanwhile, Botswana recorded a trade deficit of P175.9 million in July 2016. This means that the country imported, in value, more during July 2016 as compared to the value of exports during the same month.