Uganda’s trade deficit narrows in July on robust export growth

The value of Uganda’s exports rose 21.7% in July compared to the same period last year, figures from Bank of Uganda show.

Export earnings were $270.9 million, up from $222.5m in July 2016, but well below the $277.6m received this June, a 2.4% decline.

The most valuable export remained coffee, accounting for 18.3% of total export receipts, with its total value in July rising 82.9% year on year to $49.5m. Non-coffee formal exports rose 9.7% compared to last year to $179.7m, while informal cross border trade receipts increased by 31.7% to $41.7m year on year.

Shipments to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, which accounted for 40.7% of total exports, were up 49.4% year on year. The trade bloc includes Kenya whose share of Uganda’s outbound shipments was 14.7% in July after rising 38.9% year on year. Exports to South Sudan, also a member of Comesa, increased by 200.9% compared to the same period last year and were 7.8% of total shipments.

Exports to the European Union rose 18.9% year on year and accounted for 18.9% of total shipments. Shipments to the Middle East, which were 11.2% of total exports, however fell 34.2%.

Imports in July rose 0.9% to $369.3m compared to a year earlier. They however reduced by 15% compared to June, when inbound shipments were worth $434.5m. Private sector imports, which were 95% of the total, rose 6.7% to $350.8m year on year, while government imports fell 50.2% to $18.5m.

China was the biggest source of Uganda’s imports in July with a 15% share; inbound shipments from the country however declined by 14.6% versus the same month last year. Imports from the United Arab Emirates, which were 12.7% of total inbound shipments, however rose 9.6%, as did those from Kenya – 10.8% of total inbound shipments – which increased by 4%.

The figures mean Uganda’s trade deficit in July was $98.4m compared to $143.4m a year earlier. It also fell by $58.4m from the previous month.