Imports and exports rising

Jamaica's imports up by 13.1%, exports up by 5% for January quarter

BY OBSERVER BUSINESS WRITER

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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Jamaica's imports increased by 13.1 per cent during January to March 2019.

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) is reporting in its quarterly report that for the period January to March 2019, Jamaica's imports were valued at US$1.66 billion — a 13.1 per cent increase when compared to the corresponding period for 2018 with a value of US$1.47 billion.

The increase in imports was mainly attributable to increases in mineral fuels, machinery and transport equipment and food.

Expenditure on imports of mineral fuels were valued at US$473.8 million when compared to the US$392.7 million spent for 2018. Turbojet A1 fuel and partly-refined petroleum, including topped crudes were the main contributors to the increase.

Imports of electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and road vehicles were mainly responsible for the 14.2 per cent increase in machinery and transport equipment which was valued at US$393.1 million.

Food imported in the current review period was valued at US$258.6 million, 13.8 per cent above the US$227.2 million spent in 2018. The growth was attributed mainly to higher imports of dairy products and birds' eggs, miscellaneous edible products and preparations, and cereals and cereal preparations.

For the same period under consideration, revenue from exports increased by five per cent with a value of US$450.1 million, which was supported by an increase in the commodity groups, mining and quarrying up 5.5 per cent to US$257.1 million and manufacturing up 34.5 per cent to US$12.7 million.

The increase in manufacturing was primarily due to higher exports of sugar which earned US$1.2 million.

Imports from the United States of America (USA) — Jamaica's main trading partner, were valued at US$790.5 million — a 32.4 per cent jump when compared to the similar period in 2018.

Exports to the USA earned $163.6 million — an increase of 11.7 per cent. Since the start of the year, oil prices on the world market have gone up by approximately 21.64 per cent.

There was, however, a decrease in agriculture due to lower exports of coffee and citrus. Coffee earned US$0.9 million, while citrus accounted for US$0.3 million.

Non-traditional domestic exports for the period increased by 3.1 per cent to value US$159.2 million. The categories responsible for this increase were food and crude materials.

CARICOM

Imports from Caricom were valued at US$84.8 million, 27 per cent below the US$116.2 million spent for the same period in 2018.

Mineral fuels formed the main commodity group responsible for this decline. Imports of mineral fuels were valued at US$29.6 million, a 58.9 per cent decrease below the US$59 million in January to March 2018. Total exports were valued at US$21.1 million, 0.9 per cent above the US$20.9 million earned in January to March 2018.

Domestic exports earned US$17.7 million, an increase of 5 per cent when compared to the US$16.8 million earned in 2018.

Re-exports for January to March 2019 decreased to value US$3.4 million, moving down by 15.8 per cent, from the US$4.1 million for January to March 2018.


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