BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 30, 2020– The report of the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) on external trade for June 2020 shows that in June 2020 we imported 38.4% less goods and exported 41.1% more goods, than we did in June 2019.
In June 2020 we imported $103.7million worth of goods, $64.8 million less than the $168.5million worth of goods that we imported in June 2019. The SIB noted that this is the second month in a row in which merchandize imports were down by more than one-third. The SIB says that this is a reflection of “the economic downturn, reduced demand, and continued delays in accessing foreign exchange that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In respect to the January-June period, imports were down 15.6%, and exports were down 7.8%.
(The following is condensed from the SIB report)
IMPORTS down 38.4% in June 2020, compared to June 2019
Imports to the ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ category plunged by 63 percent or $17.1 million, from $27.3 million in June 2019 to $10.2 million in June 2020, due mainly to lower world market prices for fuel. Imports of goods destined for the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ fell by more than a half, or $16.3 million, from $29.7 million to $13.4 million, owing to decreased purchases of a variety of items, including tennis shoes, men’s clothing and perfumes; also, the ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ category dropped by 37 percent or $11.4 million, from $30.8 million in June 2019 to $19.4 million in June 2020, because of decreased imports of goods such as aviation equipment and motor vehicles.
Smaller imports across a number of items, including school bags, metal office furniture and books led to a decline of 47 percent or $6.4 million, from $13.6 million to $7.2 million, in the ‘Other Manufactures’ category; the ‘Manufactured Goods’ category went down by 25 percent or $4.9 million, from $20 million in June of last year to $15.1 million in June 2020, due to reduced purchases of aluminum cables, galvalume steel coils and tyres; the ‘Chemical Products’ category dropped by 24 percent or $4.6 million, from $18.9 million to $14.3 million, because of reduced imports of fertilizers and medicines; the ‘Designated Processing Areas’ declined by 56 percent, from $4.6 million in June 2019 to $2.1 million in June 2020, on account of decreased purchases of metal office furniture and computers; and the ‘Beverages and Tobacco’ category fell steeply by 69 percent or $2.5 million, from $3.7 million in June 2019 to $1.2 million in June 2020, because of reduced imports of wines, hard liquor, and cigarettes.
The ‘Food and Live Animals’ category, the only category to see an increase during the month, rose by 11 percent from $15.5 million in June 2019 to $17.2 million in June 2020, owing to greater imports of food items, including margarine, lard (shortening) and condensed milk.
EXPORTS up 41.1% in June 2020, compared to June 2019
Total domestic exports for the month of June 2020 amounted to $42.1 million, up considerably by 41.1 percent or $12.3 million from the $29.8 million recorded for June of 2019.
Earnings from sugar rose by $16.5 million, from $3.2 million in June of last year to $19.7 million in June 2020. The month also saw greater earnings coming from bananas, which increased by $1.9 million, from $5.3 million in June 2019 to $7.2 million in June 2020. Earnings from marine exports rose by $1 million, from $1.9 million to $2.9 million, due to a spike in sales of lobster tails.
There were no exports of crude petroleum in June of this year, in contrast to June 2019 when revenues of $6.9 million were recorded. Earnings from citrus products declined minimally from $4.7 million in June 2019 to $4.6 million in June 2020, as a distinct decrease in earnings from orange concentrate was partially offset by improved exports of grapefruit oil, orange oil and grapefruit squash. Among other exports, molasses underwent the greatest drop during the month, with earnings from this commodity going down by one third or just over $1 million, from $3.2 million to $2.1 million.
Earnings from the United States of America increased by $18.7 million, from $5.5 million in June 2019 to $24.2 million in June 2020, as the United States was the destination for both the bulk sugar and lobster tails exported during the month.
Report on IMPORTS for the first six months of 2020
Total merchandise imports for the period January to June 2020 was $793.7 million, a 15.6 percent or $146.6 million decrease compared to the same period last year.
The ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ category fell by 37 percent or $53.8 million during the first half of the year, down from $147.2 million in 2019 to $93.4 million in 2020, mainly because of lower fuel prices on the world market; imports of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ decreased by more than $26 million or 14 percent, from $186.1 million in 2019 to $159.8 million in 2020; imports into the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ declined by $25.9 million or almost 18 percent, from $144.7 million to $118.8 million; imports in the ‘Manufactured Goods’ category went down by $14.9 million, from $128.5 million in 2019 to $113.6 million in 2020; the ‘Other Manufactures’ category, with fewer purchases of articles made of plastic and books, decreased by $13.2 million over the period, from $67.9 million in 2019 to $54.7 million in 2020; purchases of ‘Crude Materials’ dropped by $6.4 million or more than one-third, from $17.2 million to $10.8 million, for the most part because of smaller imports of treated pine lumber, used clothing and wooden poles; imports of ‘Chemical Products’, particularly fertilizers and medicines, including antibiotics, declined by $6.3 million during the six-month period, from $88.7 million in 2019 to $82.4 million in 2020; and goods going into the ‘Designated Processing Areas’ went down by $2.9 million over the period, from $18.6 million to $15.7 million, owing mainly to decreased purchases of metal furniture and excavators.