Zim’s Exports Plunge as Recession Hits

ZIMBABWE’S exports fell by 38% during the first half of this year when compared to the same period last year, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) said.


The country exported goods valued at US$475 million compared to US$762 million in the comparative period. Most of the goods exported to world markets where raw.
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono in his mid-term monetary review policy statement last week, attributed the decline in exports to a global economic recession.
Of the exports, mining accounted for 42%, tobacco 26% and manufacturing 14%.
Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector is still to emerge from the woods after capacity utilisation declined to an all time low of between 4 and 10% last year from as high as 50% before the turn of the century due to the unstable political and economic environment.
But so far lines of credit secured from external financers fall short of the industry requirements, a development analyst say will delay the recovery of manufacturing industry.
Mining sales amounted for US$211million compared to US$402 million while manufacturers sold US$67 million compared to US$402 million achieved during the same period last year.
“The 2009 mining shipment exports represent a decrease of 57,6% compared to 2008. This is mainly due to the fall in mineral prices caused by the world recession,” said Gono “Furthermore, the sector stills faces challenges in specific sectors like labour shortages, frequent power cuts and foreign currency shortages,” Gono said.
Agriculture, formerly Zimbabwe’s major exports driver before government embarked on a land reform exercise fell 14,9% comparatively.
Government now has the onerous task of reviving the once strong sector after years of mismanagement reduced production.
“Total exports under the agriculture sector amounted to US$191,3 million compared to US$224,9 million worth of exports for the same period in 2008. This represents a decrease of 14,9%. Like any other sector of the economy, the agriculture sector has been affected by the prevailing shortage e of foreign exchange for procurement of critical inputs,” Gono said.
The global recession has also had its toll on agriculture exports, especially the horticulture sector, where prices have continued to be depressed, the central bank said.
But the central bank remains optimistic that the dollarisation of the economy would lift production and resultantly boost exports.

 

BY CHRIS MURONZI