Zambia’s 2014 foreign trade surplus shrinks 65% y/y

By bne IntelliNews February 2, 2015

Zambia’s trade surplus shrank 65% y/y to $139.6mn in 2014, its lowest level since 2008, as exports fell faster than imports, provisional data from the country’s Central Statistical Office (CSO) showed.

The country’s exports dropped 8.6% y/y to $9.7bn last year, while imports fell 6.5% y/y to $9.5bn. The data reflects the depreciation of the local kwacha currency during the year and also the decline in international copper prices. Zambia is a major producer of copper and its economy is highly dependent on copper exports. Last year, exports of raw materials (mainly copper) and exports from the intermediate goods category (comprising mainly copper cathodes and sections of refined copper) accounted for 89% of total exports.

In December, the Bank of Zambia said it is worried about the recent deterioration of its balance of payments and the shrinking trade surplus is adding to these concerns. The country’s current account deficit widened to $22.3mn in Q3 from $21.9mn in Q2 despite a 0.5% q/q increase in the trade surplus to $343.6mn. The overall balance of payments turned into a deficit of $123.2mn in Q3 from a surplus of $740mn in Q2.

External trade, $mn 2014 2013 y/y change
Total exports (f.o.b.) 9 689.5 10 606.9 -8.6%
--domestic exports 8 081.4 9 365.2 -13.7%
--re-exports 1 608.1 1 241.6 29.5%
Total imports (c.i.f.) 9 549.9 10 210.8 -6.5%
TRADE BALANCE 139.6 396.1 -64.8%
Source: Central Statistical Office     

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