A recent report from the IMF said, “Fiscal performance was broadly on track and all quantitative performance targets for end-September were met. Structural reforms have progressed on schedule.”
Within this context, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica released its External Trade Bulletin, measuring the country’s trade performance for the period January to September 2014.
In its report, Statin said Jamaica’s expenditure on merchandise imports during January to September 2014 fell and was valued at US$4,393.3 million. Imports fell by US$80.6 million or 1.8 per cent when compared to the same period in 2013.
Earnings from total exports fell by US$107.6 million or 8.8 per cent to US$1,109.0 million when compared to the same period in 2013. As a result, the trade deficit for the first nine months of 2014 stood at US$3,284.3 million, widening by 0.8 per cent or US$27.0 million when compared to US$3,257.3 million in the similar 2013 period.
The value of imports from the major trading partner the United States of America (USA) during the 2014-review period was US$1,706.2 million, compared to US$1,451.7 million in the 2013 period. Goods worth US$445.1 million were exported to the USA during the 2014 period, down from the US$607.4 million recorded in the comparable 2013 period.
At the end of the 2014 review period, the trade deficit with the USA stood at US$1,261.1 million, moving up from US$844.3 million in the similar 2013 period.
During the 2014 review period, imports were valued at US$4,393.3 million. Of this amount the Jamaica Free Zone accounted for US$87.3 million.
During the nine-month period of 2014, there was a general downward trend in the value of imports, with six of the ten commodity groups registering declines.
“Mineral Fuels, etcetera” the main contributor, fell and was valued at US$1,563.1 million a decline of US$9.0 million or 0.6 per cent. The reduction for this group was mainly due to lower imports of the division petroleum, ‘petroleum products and related materials’. “Food” declined and accounted for 16.1 per cent of the import bill.
This commodity declined by US$14.1 million or 2.0 per cent. The divisions responsible for this decrease were ‘cereals and cereal preparations’, ‘sugars, sugar preparations and honey’, ‘vegetables and fruits’ and ‘miscellaneous edible products and preparations’.
“Chemicals” followed a similar pattern and was valued at US$464.4 million moving down by US$107.7 million or 18.8 per cent, when compared to the US$572.1 million recorded in the comparable 2013 period. Lower imports of ethanol products were the primary contributor to this decline. “Beverages & Tobacco” also decreased and was valued at US$52.2 million, US$4.6 million or 8.1 per cent below the US$56.8 million recorded in the similar 2013 period. “Animal & Vegetable Oils & Fats” went down and was valued at US$29.0 million.
When compared to the 2013 period, the following commodity groups all recorded increases. “Machinery and Transport Equip.” valued at US$681.1 million grew by US$24.3 million or 3.7 per cent due mainly to higher expenditure in the divisions ‘telecommunication and sound recording and reproducing apparatus’, ‘office machines and automatic data processing equipment, power generating machinery and equipment’, ‘machinery specialized for particular industries’ and ‘electrical machinery apparatus and appliances etc.’.
“Manufactured Goods” grew by US$13.8 million or 3.2 per cent and was valued at US$448.9 million. “Misc. Manufactured Articles” increased and was valued at US$323.0 million, a US$18.9 million or 6.2 per cent increase above the US$304.1 million recorded in 2013. “Crude Materials (excl. Fuels)” increased and was valued at US$46.4 million, up from the US$43.3 million recorded in the similar January to September 2013 period.
Traditional Domestic Exports
During January to September 2014, the country’s earnings from traditional exports moved up by US$15.0 million or 2.5 per cent to US$605.2 million, largely due to increases in “Mining & Quarrying”.
Non-traditional Domestic Exports
The first nine (9) months of 2014 Non-Traditional domestic exports were valued at US$455.9 million, 18.4 per cent or US$103.0 million below the US$558.9 million recorded in the similar 2013 period.
During January to September 2014, Jamaica imported US$616.3 million worth of goods from her CARICOM partners; a decrease of US$27.7 million or 4.3 per cent when compared to the same period in 2013. This was due mainly to decreased spending on “Mineral Fuels etcetera”, which fell by US$3.8 million or 0.9 per cent to US$425.4 million, due to the result of lower imports of ‘petroleum, petroleum products and other related materials’.
“Food”, the second most imported item also declined and was valued at US$109.2 million down from the US$127.3 million recorded in the comparable 2013 period. This decline was as a result of lower imports of ‘vegetables and fruit’, ‘sugars and sugar preparations’ and miscellaneous edible products and preparations’.
Total exports to the region increased by US$7.8 million or 13.6 per cent and was valued at US$65.3 million in the current 2014 review period. Domestic exports accounted for approximately US$60.0 million, up from US$50.1 million in the similar 2013 period.
Jamaica recorded a trade deficit of approximately US$551.0 million with her CARICOM partners compared to US$586.4 million recorded in the similar 2013 period. The trade deficit, therefore, narrowed by US$35.5 million or 6.0 per cent.
The September 2014 External Trade Bulletin outlines additional information and may be obtained at our Distribution Office, 7 Cecelio Avenue Kingston 10. Data is also available on the STATIN website at www.statinja.gov.jm.
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