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SI trade balance reverts to $221.1 million deficit in June

SI trade balance reverts to $221.1 million deficit in June

The Solomon Islands (SI) International Merchandise Trade (IMT) balance shifted back to a deficit of $221.1 million after a surplus of $75.7m in the previous March quarter, 2019.

Government Statistician, Douglas Kimi confirmed this while releasing the statistical report on trade this week.

“A similar shift (towards a deficit) is recorded, compared to the same period a year ago, although the extent of the deficit has widened by about 6 times,” Mr. Kimi stated.

He said that during the June quarter, imports exceeded exports by 21.9 per cent driven by major increases in imports of food by +33.5, machinery and equipment by +32.4 per cent and chemical and related products +34.1 per cent whilst riding on the decline in timber-logs exports -12.7 per cent.

“Increases in exports such as fish +18.7 per cent and agricultural products +17.2 per cent was dominated by rising exports during the quarter.

“By the year-ended June 2019, compared to the same period a year ago, the trade deficit doubled from a deficit of $274.6m to $572.0m, and further widened, recording the highest annual deficit since 2011,” he stressed.

Merchandise trade balance with major trading partners in the second quarter of 2019 compared to the previous quarter recorded the following:
• Total timber exports comprising of log and sawn timber declined by $99.5m (-12.0%) to $733.0m. This was driven by a drop (-12.7%) in sawn timber.
• Total of fresh/frozen, canned and smoked fish rose by $21.0m (+18.7%) to $133.6m. This was attributed to an increase (+17.7%) in tuna loins (smoked).
• Total agricultural products increased moderately by $10.6m (+17.2%) to $72.5m as copra exports resumed, and cocoa more than doubling (+138.9%) including rises in Palm Kernel oil/meal (+31.4%); these discounted declines in coconut oil (-3.9%) and Palm oil (-6.4%).
• Gold exports more than doubled by $1.1m (+118.7%) to $2.0m.
• Food imports increased by $63.0m (+33.5%) to $251.2m driven by increases in rice (+86.6%) and flour (+109%) offsetting declines in meat (-46.7%) and fish ((-47.0%) preparations, and sugar (-13.7%).
• Beverages and Tobacco decreased by $372 (-1.5%) to $24.1m driven by a decrease in unmanufactured tobacco (-25.5%), and beer (-25.0%).
• Mineral fuel and lubricants increased by $27.3m (+11.0%) to $275.6m. This was attributed to an increase in distillate fuels (+4.2%) and motor spirits (+26.4%).
• Machinery and transport equipment increased by $77.2m (+32.4%) to $315.7m at the back of a surge in vehicle imports (goods and special purpose (+4839.3%) and passenger vehicles (+13.6%)) outweighing decreases in outboard motors (-29.1%).
Merchandise trade balance with major trading partners in the June quarter of 2019 compared to the previous quarter records the following:
• Trade deficit with Singapore, the main origin for fuel imports increased by $123.9m (-.95.4%) to $-253.8m.
• Trade deficit with Australia decreased by $1.6m (-0.8%) to $-206.1m.
• Trade deficit with Papua New Guinea reduced slightly by $2.3m (-12.0%) to $-17.3m.
• Trade surplus with China, the main destination of exported logs, declined slightly by $32.1m (-6.0%) to $505.9m.
• Trade surplus with Italy, the main destination of fish-loin exports declined by $2.5m (-3.3%) to $73.3m.

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