Zimbabwe’s Top 10 Imports

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

The Republic of Zimbabwe imported US$6.3 billion worth of goods from international suppliers in 2018, down -1.9% since 2014 but up 26.1% from 2017 to 2018.

Zimbabwean imports represent a tiny 0.04% sliver of total global imports which totaled $17.788 trillion one year earlier.

From a continental perspective, $3.1 billion or 50% of Zimbabwe’s total imports by value in 2018 were purchased from fellow African countries. Asian trade partners supplied 38.7% of Zimbabwe’s total imports while 9.1% worth of goods originated from European nations. Smaller percentages came from North America (1.4%), Latin America (0.6%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia.

Given Zimbabwe’s population of 14 million people, its total $6.3 billion in 2018 imports translates to roughly $450 in yearly product demand from every person in the African nation.

Zimbabwe’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups, reported at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, represent the highest dollar value in Zimbabwe’s import purchases during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share that each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Zimbabwe.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$1.9 billion (29.8% of total imports)
  2. Vehicles: $599.8 million (9.6%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $584.7 million (9.3%)
  4. Fertilizers: $294.6 million (4.7%)
  5. Cereals: $269.7 million (4.3%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $263 million (4.2%)
  7. Electrical machinery, equipment: $238.3 million (3.8%)
  8. Pharmaceuticals: $217.1 million (3.5%)
  9. Other chemical goods: $202.9 million (3.2%)
  10. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $152.7 million (2.4%)

Zimbabwe’s top 10 imports account for three-quarters (74.9%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Imported vehicles had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 82.2% from 2017 to 2018.

In second place for rising import costs were miscellaneous chemical goods, up 50.7%. Close behind were Zimbabwean imported plastics and articles made from plastic rose 49.2% year over year.

Leading the decliners was the electrical machinery and equipment category via its -21% depreciation.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.

Fuel

In 2018, Zimbabwean importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuel-related products.

  1. Processed petroleum oils: US$1.6 billion (up 30.1% from 2017)
  2. Electrical energy: $151 million (down -15.2%)
  3. Petroleum gases: $43.4 million (up 61.6%)
  4. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $5.2 million (up 3.8%)
  5. Petroleum oil residues: $5 million (down -34.9%)
  6. Coke, semi-coke: $4.7 million (down -2%)
  7. Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $3.8 million (up 217.1%)
  8. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $2.6 million (up 19.5%)
  9. Peat: $953,000 (up 196%)
  10. Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $635,000 (down -75.5%)

Among these import subcategories, Zimbabwean purchases of natural bitumen, asphalt and shale (up 217.1%), peat (up 196%) then petroleum gases (up 61.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported fuel among Zimbabwe’s businesses and consumers.

Vehicles

In 2018, Zimbabwean importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.

  1. Cars: US$231 million (up 84.3% from 2017)
  2. Trucks: $217.8 million (up 102%)
  3. Tractors: $63 million (up 76.2%)
  4. Automobile parts/accessories: $33.1 million (up 22.2%)
  5. Trailers: $22.8 million (up 88.5%)
  6. Public-transport vehicles: $19.4 million (up 76.2%)
  7. Special purpose vehicles: $6.2 million (up 42.4%)
  8. Motorcycles: $2.7 million (down -5.6%)
  9. Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $2.7 million (up 58.4%)
  10. Motorcycle parts/accessories: $624,000 (down -0.8%)

Among these import subcategories, Zimbabwean purchases of trucks (up 102%), trailers (up 88.5%) then cars (up 84.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different product subcategories of imported vehicles among Zimbabwe’s businesses and consumers.

Machinery

In 2018, Zimbabwean importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machines including computers.

  1. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): US$76.9 million (up 106% from 2017)
  2. Computers, optical readers: $56 million (up 12.9%)
  3. Sort/screen/washing machinery: $43.6 million (up 53.4%)
  4. Machinery parts: $43.4 million (up 27.8%)
  5. Liquid pumps and elevators: $34.8 million (up 38.6%)
  6. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $23.9 million (up 23.2%)
  7. Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $20.4 million (up 70.9%)
  8. Harvest/threshing machinery: $17.5 million (up 111.2%)
  9. Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances: $16.2 million (down -7.9%)
  10. Rubber/plastic article making machines: $15.9 million (up 129.1%)

Among these import subcategories, Zimbabwean purchases of rubber or plastic article making machines (up 129.1%), harvest and threshing machinery (up 111.2%) then heavy machinery such as bulldozers, excavators and road rollers (up 106%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Zimbabwe’s businesses and consumers.

Fertilizers

In 2018, Zimbabwean importers spent the most on the following subcategories of fertilizers.

  1. Nitrogenous fertilizers: US$164.4 million (up 69.4% from 2017)
  2. Fertilizer mixes: $74.1 million (up 16.5%)
  3. Potassic fertilizers: $47.5 million (up 29.9%)
  4. Phosphatic fertilizers: $8.3 million (up 251%)
  5. Packaged animal/vegetable fertilizers: $281,000 (up 2.6%)

Among these import subcategories, Zimbabwean purchases of phosphatic fertilizers (up 251%), nitrogenous fertilizers (up 69.4%) then potassic fertilizers (up 29.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported fertilizers among Zimbabwean businesses and consumers.



 

See also Zimbabwe’s Top 10 Exports, Top African Export Countries, Top South African Trading Partners and Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 26, 2019

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 26, 2019

The World Factbook, Africa: Zimbabwe. Accessed on April 26, 2019

Wikipedia, Zimbabwe. Accessed on April 26, 2019