Wednesday, May 7, 2014


AT least 111.6 million kilogrammes of tobacco worth US$358 million have has been sold since the 2014 marketing season opened in February this year, according to the latest statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB).
The volume of the golden leaf sold so far is a 23.6 per cent increase on the 90.3 million kg of tobacco worth US$334.7 million sold during the comparable period last year, the TIMB data show.
Of the total, 78.1 million kg of tobacco were sold through contract sales while the remainder went under the hammer.
The seasonal average price of the tobacco this season was US$3.21 per kg, a drop of 13.4 per cent from US$3.71 per kg of last year. This year's tobacco selling season had opened on a low note with depressed prices of below US$2.0 per kg.
When the marketing season closed last year, at least 166.5 million kg of tobacco had been sold at an average price of 3.70 USD per kg, realising US$616.1 million in sales.
The government has forecast this year's output at 170 million kg after many farmers turned to tobacco and abandoned other cash crops which yield less attractive producer prices.
Since the adoption of multiple foreign currencies in Zimbabwe, principally the US dollar, the tobacco industry has become one of the fastest to recover from the economic meltdown of the past decade.
The sector has seen a rebound as 103,941 farmers registered to sell tobacco this season.
Many farmers have been shifting to tobacco because of the favourable prices and abandoned other crops, particularly maize and cotton.
Tobacco is one of Zimbabwe's major agricultural exports, accounting for 10.7 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
Export destinations for Zimbabwean tobacco include Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, China, Sudan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand, Montenegro and Russia.

Foreign investors dominate bourse

Foreign investors dominate bourse
Foreign investor activity on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange increased in the first four months of the year with over a billion shares changing hands despite the total market value taking a knock. According to latest statistics from ZSE 1,1 billion shares valued at $170 million were traded between January and April this year.
Transactions completed during the first four months of this year compare favourably to last year when turnover came in at about $144 million while volumes traded were under a billion, at 717,7 million.
Foreign shareholders accounted for a total of 437 million of shares bought, 283,7 million of the shares sold and $111,5 million of turnover from buyers and $74,5 million of sellers turnover.
The latest statistics from the ZSE show that a total of 316 million shares were bought by foreign shareholders with the same investors selling about 217 million shares in the same period last year.
While the ZSE market capitalisation opened the year at $4,7 billion, it had declined to about $4,5 billion by end of last month.
The decline in the total value of shares traded on the bourse has also reflected in the continuous gradual drop in the industrial index, which opened the year at 189.25 points but closed April at 172.91 points.
Likewise, the southward trend also characterised shares of listed mining companies with the mining index dropping from its year opening levels of 35.04 points to end the first four months at 29.64 points.
Foreign investors continue to dominate trading on the local bourse as locals are largely constrained by the liquidity crunch pervading the entire economy since dollarisation of the economy in 2009.
Analysts said the level of investor activity on the bourse shows the appetite of foreign investors for Zimbabwean stocks despite the tight liquidity that is constraining the profitability of companies.
Most foreign investor interest has tended to fall on bellwether stocks such as Econet Wireless, Delta Corporation and Innscor, which have somehow found a way to make profit despite the challenges.
They also said that while investors are generally risk averse, most of them strong believe in potential lucrative returns when the economy recovers, taking advantage of current discounted prices.
Zimbabwe is facing serious liquidity crunch after dropping its currency due to hyperinflation, which reached a crescendo in 2009 and adopting a basket of currencies dominated by the greenback.
Through Zim-Asset, the Government is working on a cocktail of measures to improve liquidity and the economic environment in should drive productivity and recovery in the medium to long term. Business Herald