Jamaica's trade deficit down by 8%
JAMAICA'S trade deficit declined by eight per cent during the first four months of 2014.
Exports were less during the period but imports fell more dramatically, mainly due to a lower oil bill.
At US$650 million ($73.4 billion), mineral fuels accounted for 35 per cent of all imports from January to April 2014. But it was still US$90 million less than year-earlier levels.
Overall, imports was down by US$200 million for the review period. Importers brought in US$240 million less raw material and intermediate goods, which in part reflected lower consumption of ethanol products.
On the other hand, consumer goods climbed from US$480 million in the comparative period last year to US$518 million during the first four months of 2014. The cost of imported food was the largest contributor to that category.
Imports of capital goods also rose; particularly, machinery and equipment, valued at US$21 million, which was brought into the island during the four-month period, compared to US$16.5 million spent during the corresponding period in 2013.
Traditional exports fell marginally — from US$276 million to US$268 million. Coffee and bauxite earnings declined by US$1.5 million and US$500,000, respectively. However, alumina exports rose by US$2.6 million.
Non-traditional exports fell by US$66 million.
Overall, the total deficit on external trade fell from US$1.46 billion during the first four months of 2013 to US$1.34 billion during the review period.
However, Jamaica's trade deficit with Caricom increased by US$34 million, or by 15.2 per cent to US$258 million. Jamaica's exports to the regional bloc increased by 69 per cent to US$38 million. But imports from the region jumped by 20 per cent, or nearly US$50 million, primarily reflecting higher oil imports from Trinidad.