Botswana Business Forecast Report Q1 2014 - New Market Study Published

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Thu Nov 07 2013

We are forecasting a modest improvement in Botswana's growth prospects in 2014 due mainly to stabilising demand for diamonds, the country's key export, and low base effects. Easing inflationary pressures and lower interest rates, meanwhile, should provide a boost to consumer spending levels. We are forecasting real GDP growth of 4.7% in 2014.

Subdued domestic demand and moderating global commodity prices, particularly food and fuel, will see price growth stay relatively contained over the coming quarters. Given the benign outlook for inflation we expect monetary policy is likely to remain accommodative over the near term.

We do not expect the FY2014/2015 budget - to be announced in February - to deviate much from the government's prescribed course of fiscal prudence and we are forecasting another small fiscal surplus equivalent to 0.2% of GDP.

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The next few years will arguably be among the most challenging faced by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) since it came to power in 1966. Despite signs that a shift in the country's political landscape may be under way, we maintain that a comfortable victory for the BDP in the 2014 election remains by far the most likely outcome.

Major Forecast Changes

The latest data from the Bank of Botswana (BoB) have prompted us to make some upward adjustments to our forecasts for Botswana's current account balance. We are now predicting a shortfall worth 2.1% of GDP in 2014 and 1.9% in 2015 (compared to 3.8% and 3.6% respectively). The revisions are largely due to an improved outlook for Botswana's principal export, diamonds.

Key Risks To Outlook

A greater than anticipated deterioration in the global economy would likely have a detrimental effect on demand for diamonds, posing significant risks to our real GDP growth forecasts as well as our projections for Botswana's current and fiscal accounts.

We continue to note the risks to our forecasts posed by ongoing revisions to Botswana's national accounts estimates. Amid ongoing efforts by Statistics Botswana to more accurately portray the size and structure of the economy, GDP estimates remain subject to frequent and often notable adjustments.

Given Botswana's dependence on imported energy and food any unexpected rise in global food or oil prices beyond our current projections, would pose a risk to our growth outlook.

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