Imports more than 3 times exports
BELIZE CITY, Wed. Sept. 27, 2017–The gap between what Belize imports and what it exports continues to be high, with imports more than tripling exports for the first eight months of the year.
According to information just released by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB), merchandise imports for the eight months January to August 2017 totaled $1.2 billion, representing a 5.8% or $74 million decrease from the same period last year.
The SIB said that imports declined markedly across five categories over the period by a combined $115.2 million. They include ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’, ‘Commercial Free Zones’, ‘Food and Live Animals’, ‘Export Processing Zones’ and ‘Other Manufactures’.
Imports in the ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ category saw the biggest decline—by $74 million—from $318.7 million to $244.5 million, during the eight-month period.
The decrease was partially offset by increased spending on ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’, ‘Chemical Products’ and ‘Manufactured Goods’—which together grew by over $39 million.
On the export side, Belize earned $327.4 million for the period January to August 2017, up 1.9 percent, or $6.2 million from the $321.2 million recorded during the same period last year.
“Three of the five major exports saw increases during the eight-month period, contributing positively to the overall growth in export earnings,” the SIB said.
Most notable among them was sugar, for which exports rose from $102.1 million in 2016 to $109.8 million in 2017. Meanwhile, banana sales went up from $50.2 million to $53.5 million.
Citrus, Belize’s second largest export revenue earner, saw earnings decrease by approximately $14 million, from $80.8 million in 2016 to $66.8 million in 2017.
Meanwhile, “There was virtually no change in crude petroleum exports over the period, with earnings declining by a negligible $0.7 million in comparison to the same eight months of 2016,” the SIB said.