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MBABANE - The country’s export income for the past year fell slightly to E28.349 billion.

This is 1.2 per cent lower than export sales for 2019. This is per figures from the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE).

According to the report, the annual import bill for 2020 amounted to E24.399 billion, depicting a marginal decline of 3.0 per cent relative to the previous year. Accordingly, the merchandise trade account registered an annual surplus of E3.949 billion in 2020. This depicted a great degree of resilience within the goods account, given the COVID-19 depression, which adversely affected the second quarter.

Meanwhile, in the past month, the merchandise trade account recorded a marginal deficit amounting to E629 000, as export and import figures almost matched in December 2020. Export receipts amounted to E2.4055 billion. The import bill amounted to E2.4062 billion, depicting a month-on-month decline of 20.2 per cent and 1.8 per cent for exports and imports respectively. Year-on-year, export sales decreased by 10.3 per cent, while the import bill increased by 17.2 per cent. Exports to the South African market , on the other hand, made up 63.9 per cent of the total base, while imports from the same market consisted 72.6 per cent of the total bill.

A closer look at exports for December 2020, indicated that all major baskets declined significantly, month-on-month, this being synonymous with the annual trend of lower production at the end of each year. ‘Soft drink concentrates’ registered a month-on-month decline of 15.9 per cent to E1.370 billion and a 22.8 per cent decrease on a year-on-year basis. 


Sugar and product sales declined significantly by 26.4 per cent to E367.8 million month-on-month, while declining marginally by 1.8 per cent year-on-year. Wood-and-wood articles’ plunged by 26.3 per cent to E118.6 million month-on-month, despite increasing significantly by 26.2 per cent on a year-on-year basis, in line with the COVID-19 induced unusual demand for tissue. 

Textile exports plummeted by 40.1 per cent month-on-month, to E245.5 million, on the other hand, increasing by 26.7 per cent on a year-on-year basis. An analysis of the country’s import bill for December 2020 indicated that fuel and electrical energy increased by 4.0 per cent month-on-month to E319.2 million, while declining by 13.9 per cent year-on-year. 

Textile inputs increased by 2.7 per cent month-on-month to E232.5 million, meanwhile increasing by 48.7 per cent year-on-year.  Vehicle and other transport services declined by 2.9 per cent when compared to the previous month, despite surging by 17.9 per cent on a year-on-year basis. ‘Machinery and electrical equipment’ decreased by 7.9 per cent month-on-month to E231.8 million, while increasing by 4.8 per cent year-on-year.



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