The results of the 2022 3rd Quarter Business and Economic Intelligence Survey have been published.
This exercise was conducted and circulated by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries with the aim of fetching insights from both manufacturers and non- manufacturers on the economic environment and their overall performance. The sample swept 522 companies across the country and across varied sectors, from communication, agriculture, and transport, through to wholesaling and retail trading, amongst a few others.
The report highlighted that despite the challenging environment-which was characterized by high inflation which peaked at 285%, huge parallel market premiums which reached 110% in July, and a myriad of tight monetary and fiscal policies like the suspension of borrowing-trading volumes in 2022 still increased compared to 2021. 41.86% of firms in the sample registered an increase-of which the transport sector had the largest proportion registering increased
trade volumes, 33.72% of the firms registered a decrease, and 24.42% remained the same. Furthermore, it was younger firms that represented a higher proportion of companies that registered increases in trade volumes.
This cannot be interpreted as implying strong performances given that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown restrictions posed such a strong constraint on the economic environment and therefore the 2022 performance is measured from a low base.
Consider that about half of the surveyed firms indicated that they managed to create jobs. The transportation sector lead job creation growth. Moreover, remember that the transport sector had the largest proportion registering increased trade volumes. This follows the narrative of a low base caused by lockdows and restriction to travel. An easing of lockdowns in 2022 naturally implies growth in the transportation sector.
Other highlights of the report include that imports of consumption goods fell relative to capital and intermediate goods. USD Domestic sales remains the primary source of foreign currency, about 59% of the firms perceive that their profitability had either stagnated or declined. About 17% of the firms retrenched in the first nine months of the year, the biggest proportion coming from the wholesale sector.
There remains great uncertainty regarding the economic andsector outlook. Only 45% of the sample except the 2022 4th quarter to be better than the current period. 15% of the sample except the future to be worse while 38% expect the economic conditions to remain the same.