February 2017 trade figures record Vt2.3 billion deficit

Merchandise trade provisional figures for February 2017 recorded a deficit balance of Vt2.328 billion, a deterioration of Vt124 million or (5%) compared to February 2016, according to the Trade Highlights provided by the Vanuatu National Statistics Office (VNSO).

It says this trade deficit balance was due to the value of total imports Vt2.635 billion, exceeded that of total exports at Vt307 million.

Domestic export earnings (excluding re-exports) for February 2017 stood at Vt307 million, a significant fall of 46% or VT 262 million over February 2016.

Exports

In February 2017, for the main export commodities; kava constituted the largest share in value at Vt188 million or 61%, followed by copra at 14%, sawn timber at 4%, coconut oil at 3%, coconut meal and live fish at 2% each, beef at 1%, while the rest of the commodities recorded less than 1% and other products at 13%.

Other products comprised mainly of tamanu oil, machinery and equipment and personal effects, the VNSO Highlights shows.

For coconut product exports in value, coconut oil decreased by Vt26 million or 38% over February 2016 and coconut meal by Vt35 million or 87% compared to February 2016.

“Compared to February 2016, kava exports in value stood at Vt188 million, representing a significant increase of Vt97 million in February 2017.

“However, beef exports decreased by 71% from Vt27 million to Vt8 million in February 2017.

“Most of the beef was mainly exported to Japan, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.”

Imports

In terms of share of commodity groups to total imports receipts, Machines and transport equipment represented the largest value (C.I.F) of Vt543 million or 21% of the total imports for home consumption in February 2017, followed by mineral fuels and food & live animals at 19% each, basic manufactured products at 17 %, miscellaneous goods at 10%, chemical products at 7%, beverages and tobacco at 4%, goods not classified elsewhere and crude materials at 2% each, and the oils, fats and waxes less than 1% over the same period of the previous year.

“Compared to February 2016, the commodity groups which increased were: Mineral fuels at 110% or VT 261 million, followed by miscellaneous goods at 29% or VT 61 million, goods not classified elsewhere at VT 43 million, chemical products at 12% and crude materials at 1%, in February 2017.

However, the rest of the commodity group that decreased were: oils, fats and waxes (93%), followed by beverages and tobacco at (29%), basic manufactured products at (28%), and machines and transport equipment at (8%),” the VNSO report shows.

The distribution of imported goods by country grouping increased in February 2017 for Hong Kong at 166%, Singapore at 113%, Japan at 13%, New Caledonia at 11% and other countries below 1%.

However, the rest of country grouping where imports for home consumption decreased were as follows: Australia at (21%), France at (17%), Fiji at (10%), and New Zealand at (3%) 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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