Almost Vt2 billion trade deficit recorded for January 2017

Terms of trade January 2016 and January 2017

By Jonas Cullwick

Merchandise trade provisional figures for January 2017 recorded another deficit balance of Vt1.984 billion, a deterioration of Vt783 million or (28%) compared to January 2016.

This trade deficit balance was due to the value of total imports Vt2.576 billion, exceeded that of total exports at Vt591 million, according to the Merchandise Trade Statistics January 2017 Highlights issued by the Vanuatu National Statistics Office (VNSO).

Domestic export earnings (excluding re-exports) for January 2017 stood at Vt591 million, at a slight increase of 1% or Vt7 million over January 2016, it says.

Exports

“In January 2017, for the main export commodities; Copra constituted the largest share in value at Vt368 million or 62% followed by kava at Vt56 million or 9%, beef and cocoa at 5% each, coconut oil at 4%, sawn timber at 2%, live fish and shell at 1% each, while, the rest of the commodities recorded less than 1% and those in the other products category at 10%.

Other products comprised mainly of machinery and mechanical and electrical appliances and parts thereof, body cream and tamanu oil and personal effects,” the highlights say.

According to coconut product exports in value, copra increased by 56% in January 2017 compared to January 2016.

Meanwhile, coconut oil decreased by 61% from Vt54 million in January 2016.

Kava exports recorded a decrease in value to Vt56 million or 68% in January 2017 compared to January 2016. However, Beef exports indicated an increase by 40% in January 2017 over the same period of the previous year. Most of the beef were mainly exported to Japan, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, the VNSO Highlights shows.

Imports

“In terms of share of commodity groups to total imports receipts, Machines and transport equipment represented the largest value (C.I.F) of Vt824 million or 32% of the total imports for home consumption in January 2017, followed by basic manufactured products at Vt459 million or 18%, food & live animals at 17%, miscellaneous goods at 11%, chemical products at 8%, beverages and tobacco at 6%, goods not classified elsewhere at 4%, crude materials and mineral fuels at 2% each, and the oils and fats at 1% over the same period of the previous year.”

Compared to January 2016, the commodity groups which increased were: Oils and fats at 80%, followed by miscellaneous goods at 57%, crude materials at 51%, beverages and tobacco at 42%, basic manufactured goods at 19%, chemical products at 15% and goods not elsewhere classified at VT 114 million in January 2016. However, the rest of the commodity group that decreased were: mineral fuels at (91%), followed by machines and transport at (37%) and food & live animals at (33%) altogether.

The distribution of imported goods by country grouping increased in January 2017 for Hong Kong and Japan at 19% and 14%. However, the rest of country grouping imports for home consumption decreased were as follows: Singapore at (87%), Australia at (26%), New Zealand at (25%), Fiji at (22%), France at 15%, while Other countries recorded less than 1% compared to the same corresponding period of the previous year.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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