While the nation wrestles with budget deficits, some good news has emerged on the other deficit front; the nation’s trade deficit appears to be taking a corner, with the January trade statistics having offset the trend of deficits recording a trade surplus.
Statistics Botswana’s latest International Merchandise Trade statistics monthly digest for the month of January reports that Botswana recorded a trade surplus of P3, 052.4 million. Botswana has been recording sustained trade deficits for some time now; dragging the economy down.
In January, the country spent P3, 928.8 million on imports, showing a decrease of 38.6 percent (P2, 470.2 million) from the December 2015 value of P6, 398.9 million. A comparison of January 2016 import figure to January 2015 import value shows a decrease of 11.5 percent (P509.5million), from P4, 438.3 million recorded during January 2015 to P3, 928.8 million recorded during the reference month. The decrease in import value in both cases is due to the low value of diamond imports for aggregation.
For the same period, Botswana earned P6, 981.1 million, from its exports showing an increase of 32.5 percent (P1, 711.9 million) from the December 2015 value of P5, 269.3 million. Statistics Botswana has attributed the increase as a result of more exports of rough diamonds during the current period. Total exports for January 2016 show a rise of 20.8 percent (P1, 201.7 million) from the January 2015 value of P5, 779.4 million.
According to the data, diamonds dominated both the exports and imports in January.
The composition of imports by principal commodities for January 2016 shows that Diamonds contributed the most to total imports (P3, 928.8 million).Other commodities included machinery & electrical equipment with 14.2 percent (P558.3 million); Fuel 13.7 percent (P538.9 million), Food Beverages & Tobacco with 12.9 percent (P508.7 million) and Chemical & Rubber Products with 8.6 percent (P339.2 million).
Diamonds constituted the bulk of exports with 87.3 percent (P6, 092.3 million). These exports consist of diamonds from diamond polishing companies as well as those from the aggregation process. Copper Nickel and Machinery & Electrical Equipment contributed 5.9 percent (P409.1 million) and 2.4 percent (P169.4 million) respectively, to total exports during the month under review.
During the period under review, the statistics agency stated that South Africa contributing 76.7 percent (P3, 012.1 million), while Namibia contributed 1.9 percent (P73.0 million). The European Union supplied imports valued at P276.3 million, accounting for 7.0 percent of total imports. The main contributor in this region was Belgium, having contributed 3.3 percent (P129.4 million, followed by Germany with 1.6 percent (P62.7 million) contribution to total imports during the same period.
Asia as a block, supplied imports valued at P236.9 million, representing 6.0 percent of total imports. China contributed 1.9 percent (P74.4 million) while India supplied 1.5 percent (P58.5 million) of total imports during the month under review.
In January Botswana earned P6, 981.1 million, from exports with 32.2 percent (P2, 249.2 million) destined to SADC. Namibia and South Africa received 17.3 percent (P1, 210.8 million) and 13.7 percent (P954.1 million) respectively, of total exports during the month under review.
Exports destined to the EU were valued at P1, 485.5 million, representing 21.3 percent of total exports during the period under review. Belgium received most exports destined to EU, having received 19.5 percent (P1,360.1 million) .Asia as a block received exports valued at P1, 956.9 million, representing 28.0 percent of total exports (P6,981.1 million) during January 2016.
This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.
“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.
Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.
A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.
Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.
In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.
The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.
In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.
Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.
The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”
In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.
Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.
The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.