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    20 April, 2009
MOZAL dominates exports
 

Despite the decline in the value of aluminium exports, the ingots produced at the MOZAL aluminium smelter on the outskirts of Maputo still account for well over half of Mozambique's export earnings.

According to the latest figures from the government Export Promotion Institute (IPEX) Mozambique's total exports rose from $2.41 billion in 2007 to $2.65 billion last year. The value of MOZAL's exports in this period fell from $1.48 to $1.45 billion. As a percentage of all commodity exports, aluminium fell from 61.4 to 54.7 per cent.

The second most important export, but way behind aluminium, is the electricity from the Cahora Bassa dam, exported mostly to South Africa and Zimbabwe. This earned the country $239.7 million in 2007, and $221.2 million in 2008 (9.9 and 8.3 per cent respectively).

The value of natural gas exports to South Africa rose from $120.7 million in 2007 to $152 million in 2008.

Of Mozambique's main cash crops, tobacco has become the most significant export earner. The value of tobacco exports rose from $51.8 million in 2007 to $132.1 million last year.

Sugar exports rose from $61.8 million to $71.4 million, and cotton exports also improved, rising from $42 million to $48 million.

There has been a recovery in cashew exports. Exports of raw, unprocessed cashew nuts earned the country $10.8 million in 2007, and $12.5 million in 2008. Over the same period, exports of processed cashew kernels rose from $8.9 to $10.9 million. But exports of one traditional product, prawns, fell steeply, from $62.1 to $45 million.

The category of "other" exports rose from $252.7 to $422.4 million. This increase is mostly accounted for by the export of titanium ores from the dredge mine run by the Irish company Kenmare at Moma, in the northern province of Nampula. 2008 was the first year of full production at Moma.

Although exports rose, so did imports - and at a faster pace, so that the balance of trade deteriorated sharply. Imports rose from $3.05 billion in 2007 to $3.8 billion in 2008 - an increase of almost 25 per cent. The deficit on the trade balance thus widened from $637.6 million to $1.15 billion.

 
 
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