Uganda’s exports fall 1.5% in November as trade deficit expands

The value of Uganda’s exports fell 1.5% in November 2017 from a year earlier to $291.5 million, according to figures released by the Bank of Uganda.

Coffee exports, which accounted for 16.9% of the total value of outbound shipments, fell 2% year on year to $49.4m. Non-coffee formal exports declined by 1.6% to $200.9m, while informal exports rose 0.2% to $41.2m. Earnings from non-coffee formal exports were 68.9% of the total, while informal exports made up 14.1% of total value.

Formal exports to countries in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa rose 10.1% in November from a year earlier to $145.3m and were 49.9% of the total value. Kenya had the largest share of formal exports of any single country, 24.3%, with outbound shipments increasing 28.6% year on year to $70.8m.

Shipments to the European Union rose 11.9% year on year and accounted for 17.2% of total shipments. Shipments to the Middle East, which were 6.7% of total exports, declined by 53.3%.

Imports increased 9.9% year on year in November to $434.8m, driven by a 29.2% growth of formal private sector imports to $404.5m. Government imports declined by 76.6% to $12.8m.

China was the biggest source of Uganda’s imports in November, accounting for 17.8% of the total; inbound shipments from the country grew by 22.7% year on year.

Imports from the United Arab Emirates, which were 12.9% of total inbound shipments, rose 70.9%, while those from Kenya – 11.1% of total inbound shipments – fell 2%. Imports from the Comesa trade area – 15% of total inbound shipments – fell 16.1% compared to the same month last year.

Uganda’s trade deficit, according to the figures, was $143.2m compared to $99.9m a year earlier, representing a 43.3% growth.