Uganda’s export earnings increased by 4.5 percent to US$311.64 million in October 2019 from US$ 298.11 million in September 2019, according to the Ministry of Finance Performance of the Economy Report for December 2019.
According to the report, the growth in exports for October was mainly on account of a rise in earnings from coffee, fish, tea, cocoa beans and cotton.
However, Uganda’s export earnings increased on a monthly basis but declined on an annual basis.
Compared to October 2018, the report says export earnings decreased by 4.2 percent to US$311.64 million in October 2019 from US$ 325.17 million. Several exports such as gold, oil re-exports, tobacco, hides & skins recorded a decline in the earnings following a drop in their export volumes.
During the month of October 2019, the East African Community was Uganda`s top destination for merchandise exports, followed by the Middle East and the Rest of Africa. The share of Uganda’s merchandise exports to the EAC was 31.7 percent.
Compared to the same period last year, exports to the EAC region fell by 5.1 percent from USD 104.19 million to US$ 98.88 million in October 2019. “Exports to all EAC Partner States declined save for Kenya. Rwanda posted the largest fall, with exports decreasing from USD 21.75 million in October 2018 to USD 1.03 million in October 2019. The performance is partly explained by the disruption of trade along the Rwanda – Uganda border,” says the report.
The value of merchandise imports increased by 2.7 percent to US$ 535.85 million in October 2019 from USD 521.55 million registered the previous month. The report attributes the increase majorly to non-oil private sector imports, as both the import volumes and prices increased.
The categories of merchandise imports that posted the largest increments were; chemical & related products; vegetable products, animal, beverages, fats & oil; textile & textile products; base metals & their products; and; plastics, rubber, & related products.
In comparison with October 2018, the import bill fell by 12.6 percent from USD 613.17 million to USD 535.85 million in October 2019. Both Government and private sector imports registered decreases.
In the month of October 2019, the biggest share of imports was sourced from Asia (44.4 percent), Middle East (15.4 percent) and EAC (15.2 percent). Of the imports from Asia, 75.4 percent were from India, China and Japan. In the EAC region, 98.2 percent of the imports were sourced from Kenya and Tanzania.
The report says Uganda traded at a deficit with all regions save for the EAC and the Rest of Africa. Uganda recorded the largest merchandise trade deficit with Asia, which however narrowed from US$228.68 million in October 2018 to US$ 219.81 million in October 2019.
In the month of October 2019, Uganda traded at a surplus of US$ 17.42 million with the EAC. This compares with a deficit of US$ 4.65 million registered a year ago, the report says.