Merchandise trade provisional figures for October 2016 recorded a deficit balance of Vt2.804 billion, a deterioration of Vt329 million or (10%) compared to October 2015.

This trade deficit balance was due to the value of total imports Vt3.423 billion, exceeded that of total exports at Vt618 million, reports the National Statistics Office in its latest Merchandise Trade Statistics release.

Exports

Domestic export earnings (excluding re-exports) for October 2016 stood at Vt618 million, a significant increase of Vt417 million over October 2015, it says.

“In October 2016, for the main export commodities, copra constituted the largest share in value at Vt258 million or 42%, followed by kava at 18%, cocoa 13%, coconut oil at 5%, beef and root crops at 4% each, coconut meal at 2%, sawn timber and live fish at 1% each, and coffee recorded less than 1% while other products at 11%.

Other products comprised mainly of sandal wood carvings, tamanu oil, coil and personal effects.

“In October 2016, coconut product exports in value recorded a high shipment for copra at Vt258 million, however coconut oil declined by Vt14 million or 31% compared to October 2015.”

Kava exports in value stood at Vt108 million in October 2016, representing a significant increase of Vt82 million compared to Vt26 million in October 2015.

Beef exports decreased by 29% or Vt10 million from Vt35 million in October 2015 to Vt25 million in October 2016. Most of the beef was mainly exported to Japan, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands, the report continues.

Imports

In terms of share of commodity groups to total imports receipts, machines and transport equipment represented the largest value (C.I.F) of Vt795 million or 23% of the total imports for home consumption in October 2016, followed by food and live animals at Vt721 million or 21%, basic manufactured goods at 16%, mineral fuels at 15%, miscellaneous at 9%, chemical products at 7%, crude materials at 3%, beverages and tobacco and goods not classified elsewhere at 2% each, while the rest of the group recorded below 1% over October 2015, the VNSO report shows .

“Compared to October 2015, the commodity groups which increased were: mineral fuels at V518 million or 27%, followed by food and live animals at 18%, beverages and tobacco at 10%, goods not classified elsewhere at Vt63 million in October 2016.

“However, the rest of the commodity group that decreased were: oils and fats at (34%), followed by crude materials at (17%), chemical products at (13%), basic manufactured goods at (10%), machines and transport at (9%) and miscellaneous goods at (8%) respectively.”

The distribution of imported goods by country grouping recorded an increase in October 2016 for Hong Kong at (191%) followed by Australia at (13%), Singapore at (12%) and Other Countries at (39%).

However, the rest of country grouping where imports for home consumption decreased were as follows: Japan at (56%), France at (52%), New Zealand at (33%), and New Caledonia at (25%) respectively compared to October 2015.

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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