Uganda’s merchandise trade deficit widened on an annual basis, mainly driven by a higher increase in the import bill that more than offset the rise in export earnings, a ministry of Finance monthly report states.

The report for the month of May states that the merchandise trade deficit widened by 98.8% from USD 135.45 million in April 2020 to USD 269.25 million in April 2021.

In comparison with March 2021, the merchandise trade deficit increased by 24.4% from USD 216.42 million to USD 269.25 million. This performance was explained by an increase in the import bill coupled with a drop in export receipts.

On the other hand, export receipts improved by 106% on an annual basis. These amounted to USD 426.56 million in April 2021, an increase from USD 207.05 million recorded in April 2020. The value of merchandise imports increased by 103.2% over the same period, mainly driven by removal of lockdown measures and restrictions. On a monthly basis, the value of merchandise imports increased by 5.3% from USD 660.49 million registered in March to USD 695.81 million in April 2021.

 During the month of April 2021, Uganda traded at a deficit with all regions save for the Middle East, with which we traded at a surplus of USD 99.70 million, the report