By George Mangula
According to the Ministry of Finance, for the third consecutive month, Uganda’s exports receipts increased; as the effects of the COVID19 pandemic lessened. Export receipts increased by 25% to USD 419.60 million in July 2020 from USD 338.36 million realised in June.
Year-on-year, export receipts of USD 419.60 million in July 2020 also showed a move upwards when compared to USD 322.05 million recorded in July 2019. And According to the Ministry of Finance Performance of the ECONOMY Report for August 2020, a number of export items such as coffee, maize, cement, fruits & vegetables increased over the same period of time.
The report says the Middle East was the leading destination for Uganda’s exports in July 2020, with a share of 53.7%. It was followed by the EAC (19.4%) and the Rest of Africa (10.4%).
At country specific level, United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the major destination for Uganda`s exports. Exports to UAE increased to USD 223.33 million in July 2020 from USD 100.97 million in July 2019.
Meanwhile, the value of imports increased on an annual and monthly basis during July 2020, as both government and private sector imports experienced an upswing. On an annual basis, the value of imports increased by 10.1% to USD 605.04 million in July 2020 from USD 547.07 million. The increment was on account of higher Government project imports as project works picked up following the disruptions that were caused by measures put in place to contain the COVID 19 pandemic, as well as, non-oil private sector imports. Categories of private imports that largely explained this improvement include; mineral products (excluding petroleum products); prepared foodstuffs, beverages & tobacco; and chemical & related products.
Compared to the preceding month, the import bill increased from USD 543.74 million to USD 605.04 million in July 2020.
Asia remained Uganda`s main source of imports, with a share of 33.8%. The EAC and the Rest of Africa were second and third, with shares of 27.8% and 18.2% respectively. Imports from Asia were mainly from China (40.7%), India (30.4%) and Japan (12.9%). Within the EAC, Kenya and Tanzania were the largest sources of imports, accounting for 47.9% and 48.5%, respectively.
Uganda trade deficit
During the month of July 2020, Uganda traded at a deficit with all regions save for the Middle East. The merchandise trade surplus with the Middle East increased from USD 13.26 million in July 2019 to USD 189.36 million in July 2020. This followed an increase in exports (up by USD 122.14 million), coupled with a decrease in imports (down by USD 53.96 million), to the Middle East.
Uganda registered its largest merchandise trade deficit with Asia, though it reduced from USD 199.35 million in July 2019 to USD 187.19 million in July 2020.