By MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA-
A rise in copper export income has pushed Zambia’s metal export earnings to US$7,086.6 billion from $6.511 billion posted in 2012.
The merchandise imports bill also increased to $9,234.8 billion.
The metal exports figures represent an increase of 8.8 per cent while merchandise import bill represents a 16.5 per cent rise.
Bank of Zambia (BoZ) governor Michael Gondwe said the outturn was driven by an increase in copper export earnings which went up by 10.3 per cent to $6.941.3 billion from $6.294.5 billion in 2012.
This was on account of an 11.3 per cent increase in copper export volumes as the realised average price of copper declined to $7,073.82 per tonne from $7,135.84 per tonne registered in 2012.
Addressing Journalists in Lusaka, Dr Gondwe said Cobalt earnings declined by 32.9 per cent to $145.3 million in 2013 from $216.5 million in 2012, due to low export volumes as well as registered realised prices.
The volume of cobalt export volumes declined by 26.4 per cent to 6,146.29 tonnes.Similary, the average realised price of cobalt fell by 2.8 per cent to $23,635.55 per tonne,” Dr Gondwe said.
He said during 2013, merchandise export earnings grew by 13.0 per cent to $10.398.5 billion from $9.204.6 billion posted the previous year, driven largely by growth in metal and non-traditional exports (NTE’s).
“NTEs increased by 23 per cent to $3,321 million during the year mainly on account of higher earnings from the export of copper wire, burley tobacco, cane sugar, fresh flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables, electricity, petroleum products, cement, lime and electric cables,” Dr Gondwe said.
He said the merchandise trade surplus narrowed by 3.3 per cent to $1,402.3 million in 2013.
This was driven by a higher increase in merchandise imports relative to the rise in merchandise exports,” Dr Gondwe said.
“The increase merchandise import bill was Largely owning to increased economic activity following Government’s investment in infrastructure development as well as the rise in foreign investment inflows.