During the period January to June 2017 the Jamaica’s trade deficit worsened to US$2,046.4 million, increasing by US$383.9 million or 23.1% relative to US$1,662.5 million for the corresponding period in 2016. According to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), the total spend on imported goods amounted to US$2,720.6 million, an increase of 19.9% or US$451.8 million during the review period for 2017. This compares to US$2,268.9 million booked for the same period in 2016. The main commodity groups responsible for the increase in spending were “Mineral Fuels, etcetera”, “Machinery and Transport Equip.”, “Manufactured Goods”, “Chemicals” and “Misc. Manufactured Articles”.
STATIN noted that the increaase in the group “Mineral Fuels, etcetera” was due primarily to higher prices and volumes of crude petroleum, bunker C grade fuel oil, automotive diesel oil (ADO), motor spirit (gasoline), kerosene type jet fuel (excl. turbojet A1 fuel), propane and butane. This resulted in Imports of “Mineral Fuels, etcetera” climbing US$270.0 million or 68.2% to value US$666.1 million in the 2017 review period (2016: US$396 million).
The imports for the “Manufactured Goods” group were valued at US$326.6 million, 20.7% higher than US$270.6 million recorded for the similar period in 2016. The increase year over year was due to primarily to higher imports of ‘manufactures of metals’, ‘non-metallic mineral manufactures’, ‘paper, paperboard and articles of paper pulp, etc.’ and ‘iron and steel’. “Chemical rose US$27.3 million to US$296.1 million when compared to US$268.9 million in January to June 2016. Expenditure on the imports of “Misc. Manufactured Articles” amounted to US$237.7 million, US$30.6 million or 14.8% more than the US$207.2 million recorded in 2016. STATIN indicated that “this increase was due primarily to the higher importation of printed materials and articles of gold jewellery”.
According to STATIN, “Imports from the United States of America (Jamaica’s main trading partner) amounted to US$1,139.9 million, a rise of US$247.7 million when compared to US$892.3 million recorded in January to June 2016. Earnings from total exports to the United States of America (USA) increased by 15.5% to value US$271.9 million, moving from US$235.4 million for January to June 2016.” For the first six month of 2017, the trade deficit with the United States of America was US$868 million, 32.1% higher that the US$656.9 million documented for the similar period in 2016.
Total exports between January 2017 and June 2017 valued US$674.2 million, up 11.2% compared to last year’s corresponding period of US$606.3 million. Traditional exports for the period accounted for 52.2% of domestic exports when compared to last years 61% for the same period. According to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), “trditional domestic exports were valued at US$346.2 million (2016: US$336.6 million). he commodity groups “Mining and Quarrying” and “Manufacture” were responsible for the increase in receipts overall. Non–Traditional Domestic in the January to June 2017 period, Non-Traditional Domestic Exports earned US$280.6 million, a 30.2 % or US$65.0 million increase when compared to the US$215.6 million earned in the 2016 review period.”
The Deficit with CARICOM declined 9.8% for the first six months of 2017 to US$160.4 million (2016: US$177.8 million). Jamaica’s expenditure on imports from CARICOM was US$204.2 million, down 7.9% year over year from US$221.6 million between January to June 2016 period. the reduction year over year is due to declines in the following major commodity groups “Food”, “Mineral Fuels, etcetera”, “Chemicals” and “Machinery and Transport Equip”. Imports of “Food” amounted to US$66.3 million, a fall of US$6.4 million when compared to the US$72.7 million in the similar 2016 period. Total exports to CARICOM were valued at US$43.7 million in the current 2017 review period, a decrease of 0.1% when compared to the US$43.8 million recorded in January to June 2016.
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