Belmopan- Exports for the first month of 2018 were considerably down, compared to the same month in 2017. According to figures from the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB), total domestic exports for January 2018 amounted to $25.7 million, down 25.5 percent or $8.8 million when compared to the $34.5 million recorded for January 2017.
According to SIB, the marked reduction in total earnings from domestic exports was largely because only bagged sugar was exported in January 2018, while sugar exports for January 2017 included bulk sugar. For that reason, sugar revenues for the month were considerably lower than in January of last year, falling by $9.3 million from $11.9 million to $2.6 million.
Likewise, banana exports declined notably in the first month of the year, as earnings from that commodity fell by over a third or $2.7 million, from $7.8 million in the first month of 2017 to $5.1 million in the same month of 2018. Sales of shrimp in January 2018 were markedly reduced when compared to that same month in 2017 and, as a result, exports of marine products fell from $3.7 million to $2.1 million for the month.
On the other hand, the month saw considerable gains in crude petroleum earnings, boosted by higher world market prices for this commodity. Crude petroleum sales garnered a 34 percent increase in revenues, from $5.8 million in January 2017 to $7.7 million in January 2018 despite having virtually no change in the exported volumes.
In addition, exports of citrus products performed positively at the commencement of the year, growing from $1.9 million in January of 2017 to $3.8 million in January 2018, with orange concentrate, grapefruit concentrate and grapefruit oil all recording strong sales during the month.
Figures from SIB also indicate that total imports on the other hand increased by 5.9%, Total imports for the month of January
2018 were valued at $144.2 million compared to a total of $136.3 of imports for January 2017.
The decrease in exports combined with an increase of total imports will, of course, have a negative impact on the Trade Balance of the country.