Namibia’s trade deficit has increased by N$1,8 billion on a month-on-month basis, and with N$1,7 billion on a year-on-year basis.
This is according to the latest economics statistics released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA).
The agency says the deficit – the difference between the amount of goods exported and imported – increased from N$453 million recorded in February this year to N$539 million observed in March last year.
“During the month of March 2023, the country’s trade balance remained in a deficit, worsening drastically by N$1,8 billion and N$1,7 billion from N$453 million recorded in February 2023, and N$539 million observed in March 2022,” statistician general Alex Shimuafeni says.
In March, total exports amounted to N$10,2 billion, while imports stood at N$12,4 billion – resulting in a trade deficit of N$2,2 billion.
Namibia’s exports increased by 26,3% in March 2023 to N$10,2 billion, compared to February 2023, and by 15,3% compared to March 2022.
However, the increase in imports was much higher at 45,5% compared to February 2023, and 32,2% compared to March 2022 – widening the trade deficit by 9,8% to N$453 million.
Despite an increase in exports by 26,3% from February 2023, imports saw a whopping 45,5% increase, resulting in a wider trade balance.
The agency indicated that the top-five import markets for Namibia were South Africa, China, Peru, the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland.
“The top-five import markets for the country accounted for 69,7% of total imports,” the NSA says.
In terms of economic regions, the Southern African Customs Union was the largest source of imports for Namibia, followed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Brics countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), and the European Union.
Meanwhile, the country’s largest export commodity was precious stones, with diamonds accounting for 32,4% of total exports.
This is a significant increase from the previous month’s figures, where precious stones only made up 19,3% of exports.
The majority of Namibia’s diamond exports were destined for Botswana, the United Arab Emirates and Belgium.
Following diamonds, uranium and fish were Namibia’s second- and third-largest export commodities in March.
Uranium accounted for 14,4% of total exports, and was mainly destined for France and China.
Meanwhile, fish made up 12,5% of total exports, and was primarily exported to Spain, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In terms of countries that Namibia traded with during March, there were trade surpluses with Botswana of N$2,1 billion, France (N$847 million) and Zambia (N$666 million).
However, a trade deficit was recorded against South Africa (N$2,7 billion), Peru (N$1,2 billion) and China (N$872 million).