Merchandise trade provisional figures for November 2016 recorded a deficit balance of Vt2.702 billion, a deterioration of Vt615 million or 19% compared to November 2015.

This trade deficit balance was due to the value of total imports, Vt3.193 billion, exceeding that of total exports at Vt491 million, according to the latest merchandise trade highlights of the Vanuatu National Statistics Office (VNSO).

Domestic export earnings (excluding re-exports) for November 2016 stood at Vt491 million, a significant increase of 36% or Vt129 million over November 2015, the report says.

Exports

“In November 2016, for the main export commodities; Copra constituted the largest share in value at Vt144 million or 29%, followed by kava at 26%, cocoa 20%, coconut oil and sawn timber at 5% each, fish at 3%, beef at 2%, and live fish at 1%, However, the rest of the commodities recorded less than 1% and other products at 8%. Other products comprised mainly of dried sea cucumber, sandalwood butt or flakes, and personal effects.”

According to coconut product exports in value, copra increased by 59% or Vt54 million in November 2016, however coconut oil decreased by 66% or Vt44 million compared to November 2015, the report continues.

“Kava exports in value stood at Vt130 million in November 2016, representing a significant increase of Vt113 million over November 2015.

“However, Beef exports decreased by 82% or Vt36 million compared to Vt44 million in November 2015. 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, food and live animals represented the largest value (C.I.F) of Vt811 million or 25% of the total imports for home consumption in November 2016, followed by machines and transport equipment at 24%, basic manufactured goods at 19%, miscellaneous goods at 12%, chemical products at 8%, beverages and tobacco at 5%, crude materials and mineral fuels at 3% each, and goods not classified elsewhere at 1%, the report continues.

“Compared to November 2015, the commodity groups which increased were: Goods not elsewhere classified registering 287% or Vt20 million, followed by crude materials at 111% or Vt43 million, beverages and tobacco at 33%, chemical products at 29%, miscellaneous goods at 18%, food and live animals at 3% in November 2016. However, the rest of the commodity group that decreased were: mineral fuels at (73%), followed by oils and fats at (39%), basic manufactured goods at (36%), machines and transport at (9%).”

The distribution of imported goods by country grouping increased in November 2016 for New Caledonia at 156%, followed by New Zealand at 79%, Fiji at 67% and Other Countries at 41%. However, the rest of country grouping where imports for home consumption decreased were as follows: Japan at (80%), Singapore at (75%), Hong Kong at (49%), Australia at (30%) and France at (14%) respectively 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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