Rising sugar prices on the global market have helped to push up the export basket by 28 percent between April and June, figures from the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) show.
RBM Second Quarter Financial and Economic Review shows that sugar exports rose to $183.8 million (about K136 billion) in the period under review, from $13.7 million (about K10 billion) the previous quarter and $10.3 million (about K8 billion) the other quarter.
Tobacco and tea, however, recorded a decline in export earnings at $83.6 million (about K62 billion) and $17.7 million (about K13 billion) from $86.3 million (about K64 billion) and $22.9 million (about K17 billion), the previous quarter, respectively.
This consequently pushed up exports to an estimated $316.6 million (about K234 billion), an increase of 28 percent from $247.3 million (about K183 billion) worth of goods exported in the preceding quarter.
Imports, on the other hand, registered a quarterly increase of 3.2 percent to $723.7 million (about K536 billion) in the quarter under review.
Resultantly, trade balance improved to an estimated deficit of $407.1 million (about K301 billion) from minus $454.2 million (about K336 billion) in the previous quarter.
The surge in imports comes on the back of the country having strategies such as the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III) and Buy Malawi Strategy to ensure import substitution.
Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism spokesperson Mayeso Msokera explained that the ministry will continue to implement policies and strategies to narrow the trade gap, including the review of the Malawi National Export Strategy I and the design of a successor strategy, which will run from 2019 to 2023. He said the main focus is to build the export readiness of Malawian exporters and develop regional and global value chains and addressing critical enablers and cross-cutting issues related to exports such as energy, transport, market intelligence and trade facilitation.