SI records trade deficit of $251.5 million in September quarter

Solomon Islands has noted a deficit of $251.5 million in its International Merchandise Trade (IMT) in the September quarter of 2019.

Government Statistician Douglas Kimi says while releasing the statistical report on trade (IMT) this week.

“The $251.5m deficit widened by 13.7 per cent from the previous quarter, and doubled compared to the same quarter of 2018,” Mr. Kimi said.

He said although imports recorded a $1,137.5m which exceeded exports $885.0m by 28 per cent in the current quarter, there were no significant increases in major commodities of both imports and exports.

“The overall declines were driven by deceases in major commodities, with imports declining lesser than exports since the previous quarter and annually. The value of imports of major commodities declined such as: food by -2.3 per cent, mineral fuels -25.3 per cent and machinery-transport equipment -25.3 per cent.

Similarly, exports of major commodities dropped as follows: crude materials by -12.4 per cent, food related fish -20.0 per cent and some agricultural commodities such as copra -30.6 per cent, resulting in the overall trade balance.

Merchandise trade movements by major commodity in the third quarter of 2019 compared to the previous quarter recorded the following:

Major Exports

  • Total timber exports comprising of log and sawn timber declined by $137.8m (-18.8 per cent) to $595.2m. This was driven by a drop -10.8 per cent in sawn timber exports.
  • Total of fresh/frozen, canned and smoked fish dropped by $28.5m (-20%) to $114.1m, mainly caused by a decline -51.9 per cent in exports of fresh-frozen-dried fish.
  • Total agricultural products increased by $8.6m (+11.9%) to $81.2m led by rises in palm oil by +9.8 per cent and cocoa +27.7 per cent countering a decline in copra by -30.6 per cent and coconut oil -24.2 per cent.
  • Gold drastically increased fourfold by $6.4m (+369.9%) to $8.3m.

Major Imports

  • Food imports decreased by $5.7m (-2.3%) to $245.6m driven by declines in rice by -6.9 per cent, refined sugar -19.5 per cent and flour -53.3 per cent. These outweighed increases in meat preparations by +117.0 per cent and fish preparations by +62.8 per cent.
  • Beverages and Tobacco decreased by $9.1m (-37.7%) to $15.0m driven by a drop in unmanufactured tobacco (-79.4%) prevailing over an increase in beer (+109.7%).
  • Mineral fuel and lubricants dropped by $18.5m (-6.7%) to $257m. This was driven by a decrease in distillate fuels (-2.7%) offsetting an increase in motor spirits (+3.7%).
  • Machinery and transport equipment decreased by $79.8m (-25.3%) to $235.9m. This was attributed to a decrease in imports for vehicles (goods and special purpose (-7.3%), and passenger vehicles (-8.5%)) and a decrease in outboard motors (-44.3%).

Merchandise trade balance with major trading partners in September quarter, 2019 compared to the previous quarter recorded the following:

  • The trade deficit with Singapore, main origin for fuel imports, dropped by $6.0m (-2.7%) to -$217.9m.
  • The trade deficit with Australia increased by $1.2m (+0.6%) to -$210.7m.
  • The trade deficit with Papua New Guinea slightly increased by $0.8m (+4.6%) to -$19.7m.
  • The trade surplus with China, the main destination of exported logs, declined sharply by $131.5m (-25.5%) to $385.2m.

The trade surplus with Italy, the main destination of fish-loin exports declined by $31.2m (-29.8%) to $73.9m.


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