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Tobacco tops exports

BY TAURAI MANGUDHLA

ZIMBABWE’S tobacco industry, which benefited from favourable prices in the past two seasons owing partly to disturbances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in major producing markets, dominated the country’s exports in the month of November, latest statistics show.

Tobacco exports accounted for 32,2% of exports in the period under review, ahead of semi manufactured gold which was at 21,5% as well as nickel ore and concentrates at 14%, a Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) November 2021 monthly summary of external trade statistics shows.

The report was released this week and shows that during the month of November 2021, the country exported 31.8 million kg of tobacco valued at US$208.4 million compared to 17.4 million kg valued at US$95.4 million in October 2021.

Zimstat said the country exported semi manufactured gold valued at US$139.1 million in November 2021, compared to US$197.0 million in October, 2021.

“November 2021 data shows that Zimbabwe’s main exports were tobacco (32.2%), semi manufactured gold (21.5%), nickel ores and concentrates (14.0%), nickel mattes including platinum group of minerals (PGMs) (12.7%), ferro-chromium (4.8%), platinum unwrought or in powder form (3.0%) and cotton (2.5%).

“It was noted that major minerals produced in the country such as nickel concentrates and nickel mattes were exported in semi processed form, while nickel ores (including PGMs) are exported in a raw form,” Zimstat said.

On the other hand, Zimbabwe’s major imports were mineral fuels and mineral oil products, which stood at 18.9% in November 2021 compared to 20.0% in October the same year. This, according to the report, was followed by plant and machinery which stood at 13.1% in November 2021.

“Other major imports in November 2021 included fertilisers (9.5%), vehicles (7.6%), animal and vegetable fats and oils (3.7%), electrical machinery and equipment (3.6%), pharmaceutical products (2.7%), and cereals 2.6%,” Zimstat said.

Cereal imports including maize decreased to 2.6% in November 2021 from 3.6% in October 2021. There were marginal imports of maize, which stood at 0.2% in November, 2021.

The government agency said South Africa remains Zimbabwe’s major trading partner with the value of exports to South Africa increasing to 34.9% of total exports in November 2021, compared to 31.5% in October 2021.

The value of exports to China increased sharply to 23.9% from 5.5% in October 2021, while exports to the United Arab Emirates dropped to 22.4% in November 2021 from 36.8% in October 2021. Zimstat said exports to Mozambique constituted 8.2% in November 2021, compared to 7.5% in October 2021.

The proportion of imports from South Africa increased to 43.7% in November 2021 compared to 41.5% in October the same year. Furthermore, in November 2021 the proportion of the value of imports from Japan was 14.0%, followed by China (11.3%), Mauritius (3.9%), Mozambique (3.6%), Arab Emirates (3.1%), Zambia (3.2%), India (2.0%), United States (0.4%) and United Kingdom (1.1%).

The Zimstat report is produced using data on merchandise statistics from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and secondary statistics from companies and trade organisations.

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