During the period January to September 2017 the trade deficit worsened to US$3,205.3 million, increasing by US$561.4 million or 21.2% relative to US$2,643.9 million for the corresponding period in 2016 based on data released by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN).
STATIN highlighted, “Expenditure on imports from the United States of America (Jamaica’s main trading partner) increased by US$401.9 million or 29.1% to value US$1,783.2 million in the current 2017 review period. Earnings from total exports to the United States of America (USA) amounted to US$399.9 million, 12.0% or US$43.0 million above the US$356.9 million recorded in January to September 2016. The trade deficit with the United States of America for January to September 2017 was US$1,383.3 million, which was 35.0% or US$358.9 million more than the US$1,024.4 million observed for the similar 2016 period.”
The total spend on imported goods amounted to US$4,196.8 million, an increase of 18.8% or US$663.8 million during the review period for 2017. This compares to US$3,533.0 million booked for the same period in 2016. The increase was attributed to “Misc. Manufactured Articles”, “Manufactured Goods”, “Chemicals”, “Mineral Fuels, etcetera”and “Machinery and Transport Equip” as these were the main commodity groups responsible for the increase in spending.”
STATIN highlighted, “expenditure on the imports of “Mineral Fuels, etcetera” was valued at US$1,068.7 million, an increase of 54.7% or US$378.0 million when compared to the US$690.7 million recorded in the similar 2016 period. This increase was due primarily to higher prices and volumes of bunker C grade fuel oil, motor spirit (gasoline), kerosene type jet fuel (excl. turbojet A1 fuel), propane and butane. Additionally, approximately US$91.8 million worth of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) was imported during the 2017 period.”
Imports of ‘Machinery and Transport Equip’ totalled US$1,059.3 million, 15.1% more than the US$920.5 million recorded for the same period of 2016. The movement according to STATIN was traced to, “higher importation of ‘road vehicles’, ‘general industrial machinery and equipment, n.e.s.’ and ‘machinery specialized for particular industries’.”
According to STATIN, “Imports from the United States of America (Jamaica’s main trading partner) for January to August 2017 increased by US$334.5 million or 27.4 % to value US$1,554.1 million, when compared to the US$1,219.6 million. Total exports to the United States of America (USA) were valued at US$356.3 million, 12.6% or US$39.9 million above the US$316.4 million recorded in January to August 2016. The trade deficit with the United States of America for January to August 2017 was US$1,197.7 million, which was 32.6% or US$294.5 million more than the US$903.2 million observed for the similar 2016 period.”
Traditional Domestic Exports
Traditional Domestic Exports for the review period were valued at US$521.3 million, approximately of 7.4% or US$36.0 million above last year’s US$485.3 million. The Groups responsible for the movement were “Mining and Quarrying” and “Manufacture”. Notably, Non-Traditional Domestic Exports over the eight month period earned US$364.1 million, 25.8% above last year’s corresponding period of US$289.4 million. STATIN noted, “this represents a 56.2 % of domestic exports in 2017, in comparison to the 59.4 % share in the 2016 period. The commodity groups “Mining and Quarrying” and “Manufacture” were responsible for the overall increase in receipts.”
The deficit with CARICOM improved 20.6% according to STATIN to US$237.7 million versus US$299.3 million documented for the corresponding period in 2016. STATIN noted, Jamaica’s expenditure on imports from CARICOM was US$299.3 million, a decline of 18.1% when compared to the US$365.4 million in the January to September 2016 period. The major commodity groups that contributed to this decline were “Mineral Fuels, etcetera”, “Chemicals” and “Food”. Imports of “Mineral Fuels, etcetera” were valued at US$130.5 million, US$61.5 million below the US$192.1 million
recorded in January to September 2016. “Chemicals” fell by 24.8% to US$14.1 million, down from the US$18.7 million in the comparable 2016 period.”
“Total exports to CARICOM were valued at US$61.6 million in the current review period, a decrease of 6.7% or US$4.4 million when compared to the US$66.1 million recorded in January to September 2016. This was as a result of the decrease in re-exports, which fell by US$6.8 million to value US$9.8 million when compared to the US$16.6 million recorded for the similar 2016 period.”
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