Beer sales soar in the midst of economic hardships

Zimbabweans drinking their sorrows away


Zimbabweans are drinking their sorrows away as the country grapples with economic turmoil, price and exchange rate instability, and high poverty levels.

Delta Corporation, a leading beverage manufacturer, reported a record volume of 2.2 million hectoliters of lager sales for the year ended March 31 2023, strangely attributed to a stable US dollar pricing for the local market.

Delta board chairperson, Sternford Moyo, said lager sales volumes grew by 17% compared to the previous year, benefiting from the availability of returnable glass bottles and improved plant performance.

He said packaging capacity remains limited, resulting in mismatches of demand and supply of brands and packs. He also noted that disruptions in the supply of non-returnable bottles and cans affecting the region are improving, which will support one way convenient packs.

Moyo said consumer spending continued to be buoyant, boosted by stable US dollar pricing and modest improvements in wages and salaries across various sectors. He said the use of foreign currency for domestic transactions increased significantly during the year, spurred by the constrained Zimbabwean dollar.

He added that monetary policy interventions such as increased interest rates, the introduction of gold coins and delays in government payments, temporarily halted the economic turbulence that was experienced during the year.

Delta’s other products also recorded volume growth, including sorghum beer (9%), sparkling beverages (10%), ciders ready to drink (23%) and wines (16%).

The group revenue increased by 60% to ZW$537 billion in inflation adjusted terms, reflecting the volume gains across business units and the replacement cost-based pricing.

Zimbabwe’s economic woes have been worsened by hyperinflation, currency devaluation, electricity shortages, erratic rainfall and external shocks.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted a further fall in the gross domestic product (GDP) by 3.5 percent in 2023, adversely affecting economic and social conditions.

The IMF urged authorities to sustainably anchor macroeconomic stability through the liberalisation of the foreign exchange market, ensuring the central bank does not print money through quasi-fiscal operations, maintaining tight monetary policy stance and winding down the use of gold coins.

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