Gold export earnings rise to US$409.74 mln in first 5 months
Harare, (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe’s gold export earnings in the first five months of this year totaled US$409.74 million, representing a three percent rise from US$398.65 million in the same period last year, statistics from Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR)show.
Fidelity Printers and Refineries is an arm of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and is the country’s sole buyer of gold.
Gold is Zimbabwe’s single largest foreign currency earner.
Latest data from FPR shows that the month of May was the highest in terms of the yellow metal export earnings at US$120.16 million, a 40 percent increase from the same month in 2019 and 89 percent up from the previous month. The surge in gold export earnings is expected to ease the foreign currency shortages in the country.
The year started on a positive note, with January raking in US$98.12 million, representing a 39 percent increase from US$70.43 million in the prior period last year. However, the country’s export earnings started to fall in February at US$56.12 million compared to US$77.86 million in the same month in 2019.
In March it was at US$71.90 million from US$88.05 million while in April it was at US$63.42 million from US$76.40 million.
Last month, FPR reviewed the gold trading framework, which saw large scale gold producers retaining 70 percent of sale proceeds in foreign currency with the remainder being paid out in local currency. Previously, miners were paid 55 percent in foreign currency, with the remainder paid out in local currency.
The increased retention threshold is poised to spur growth in gold production as well as stem smuggling activities in the sector.
In 2019, the country’s annual gold deliveries declined 16 percent to 27.6 tonnes from 33.2 tonnes in 2018. The figure was way below the 40 ton target, although the output was the second highest since independence in 1980. Correspondingly, gold export earnings last year went down 28 percent to US$946 million from US$1.33 billion in 2018.
Zimbabwe is targeting to be producing 100 tons of gold per year by 2023, as part of a drive to achieve export earnings of US$12 billion by the mining sector by that time.