Botswana recorded a second trade surplus for the month of February, indicating that the country was not importing more that it was selling outside the country.
This is according to fresh data from Statistics Botswana, which shows that, in the month under discussion, the landlocked country exported goods worth P6, 7 billion to various destinations.
The trade merchandise statistics which was signed off by Statistician General, Annah Majelantle, shows that exports ballooned by 6, 1 percent month-on-month. “This increase is mainly due to a rise of 7, 2 percent (P424, 2 million) in diamond exports,” said the statement released this week.
Experts, including the Finance and Economic Development minister, Kenneth Matambo have forecast a recovery in the diamond sector after a slump in the past few years. This was largely due to weak economic growth in major diamond markets such as the United States, Europe and China.
US is poised for a robust growth this year same as China which is expected to leapfrog by 6, 5 percent in 2017, according to Fortune magazine. Diamonds are the single biggest export revenue earner for the mining economy which has seen its efforts to diversify falter for various reasons.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if diamond exports will continue on an upward trend following South African government refusal to grant De Beers (SA) an exemption to export diamonds to Botswana for aggregation purposes. De Beers has since taken minerals minister Mosebenzi Zwane to court over the decision, which is likely to fuel tension between the two neibouring countries.
After a deal with De Beers six years ago, all diamonds from De Beers mines are aggregated in Botswana, and then exported to their various destinations, which has worked well for Botswana.
Meanwhile, statistics also shows that for the month of February, vehicle and transport equipment also picked the country’s exports. “Vehicle and transport equipment group contains mainly re-exports,” added the statement.
For the period under review, the group recorded a 100 percent increase to close February at P21, 5 million. Some of Botswana exports include beef and soda ash.
As far as imports are concerned, the country imported goods and services worth P4, 2 billion in February 2017. Fuel contributed the highest in terms of value. To power its activities, Botswana imported fuel amounting to P215, 4 million.
Machinery and electrical equipment also had a notable contribution to imports.
According to Statistics Botswana, the country recorded a trade balance of P2, 5 billion, keeping the country in a healthy balance sheet.