By MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA –
ZAMBIA’s economy grew by five per cent in the third quarter of 2018, indicating a 0.5 percentage point increase from 4.5 per cent recorded the same period last year.
And the annual inflation rate has increased by 0.1 per cent to close the year at 7.9 per cent compared to 7.8 per cent recorded the previous month.
This is according to the year on year comparison of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at constant 2010 prices.
Central Statistical Office acting director of Census and Statistics Goodson Sinyenga said the financial and insurance activities industry recorded the highest growth with 36.6 per cent in the period under review.
Mr Sinyenga told journalists in Lusaka yesterday that this was followed by the information and communication industry at 31. 6 per cent.
He said the arts, entertainment and recreation industry was third at 21.0 per cent while, agriculture, forestry and fishing industry has continued to record negative growth in the third quarter of 2018 at negative 15.4 per cent.
“During the first three quarters of 2018, the economy grew by 3.9 per cent compared to 3.6 per cent recorded in the first three quarters of 2017. In terms of contribution to this growth, the financial and insurance activities contributed the highest growth with 1.1 percentage points,” Mr Sinyenga said.
This was followed by information and communication industry accounting for 0.9 percentage point and the mining and quarry industry at 0.8 percentage point.
“The Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry had a negative contribution to the GDP growth in the first three quarters of 2018 at negative 1.,4 percentage points,” he said.
On the inflation rate, Mr Sinyenga said on average, prices of goods and services increased by 7.9 per cent from December 2017 to December 2018.
Mr Sinyenga said the increase in the annual rate of inflation was mainly attributed to non-food items such as household furniture and furnishings and transport both local and regional.
He said year on year annual food inflation rate for December 2018 was recorded at 8.1 per cent compared to 8.4 per cent in November 2018, indicating a decrease of 0.3 percentage points.
The decrease is mainly attributed to price changes of vegetables and fruits.
Mr Sinyenga said of the total 7.9 per cent annual inflation rate recorded in December 2018, food and non alcoholic beverages accounted for 4.3 percentage points, while non food items accounted for a total of 3.6 percentage points.
Transport contributed the highest at 1.0 percentage points followed by housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels that contributed 0.9.
Lusaka province recorded the highest provincial contribution at 2.4 percentage points to the overall annual inflation rate of 7.9 per cent recorded in December 2018.
This implies that price movements in Lusaka province had the greatest contribution to the overall rate of inflation.
“Copperbelt province had the second highest provincial contribution of 1.6 percentage points while North Western had the lowest contribution of 0.2 percentage points,” he said.
On the international front, Mr Sinyenga said Zambia’s trade deficit decreased by 35.7 per cent from K2, 691.2 million recorded in October 2018 to K1.729.5 million in November this year.
He said this deficit means that the country imported more though at a slower rate than it exported in normal terms.
The decrease in value of exports is mainly attributed to the decrease in consumer goods and intermediate goods categories by 20.7 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively.
He said the net effect of these dynamics in trade was the reduced deficit.