Malawi's merchandise trade balance narrowed to minus US$178.1 million (K147.0 billion) in April 2022.
This development is from minus US$204.6 million (K168.9 billion) in March 2022 and minus US$346.9 million (K276.2 billion) recorded in a corresponding month in 2021.
Reserve Bank of Malawi, economic Review for the month of April indicated the outturn was on account of a 14.1 percent (US$5.6 million) increase in exports to US$45.6 million (K37.5 billion).
This was also attributed to a decrease of 8.5 percent (20.9 million) in imports to US$223.7 million (K184.5 billion).
The development in export performance was mainly attributed to 8.8 percent, and 7.1 percent increases in exports of cereals and sugar, to US$6.9 million, and US$2.3 million, respectively.
The decrease in imports was recorded in fertilizer, fuels, vehicles and pharmaceuticals which declined by 73.6 percent (US$3.5 million), 41.3 percent (US$18.3 million), 23.3 percent (US$4.9 million) and 19.2 percent (US$3.2 million) to US$1.3 million (K1.0 billion), US$26.1 million (K21.5 billion), US$16.0 million (K13.2 billion), and US$13.5 million (K11.1 billion), respectively.
This comes at time when the National Bank of Malawi board chairperson said it will cost an arm and a leg to import due to lack of foreign exchange currency and devaluation of the Kwacha.
The total economy foreign exchange reserves decreased marginally to US$726.1 million (2.9 months of imports) as at end April 2022 from US$766.0 million (3.1 months of imports) recorded in the preceding month. The outcome emanated from a decline in both private sector reserves and gross official reserves.
The gross official reserves decreased to US$363.3 million (1.45 months of imports) from US$374.5 million (1.50 months of imports) recorded in the previous month.
In private sector reserves reduced to US$362.8 million (1.45 months of imports) from US$391.5 million (US$1.57 months of imports) recorded iin March 2022.