The report also shows that Belize imported fewer goods in August but also exported less during the same period. In August 2015, Belize imported a total of $154.8 million worth of goods, falling by $3.7 million or 2.3 percent when compared to the $158.5 million imported in August 2014.
Imports of ‘Food and Live Animals’ decreased by $5 million, from $19.6 million in August 2015 to $14.4 million in the same month last year. This was the largest drop among the various categories for the month, and was as a result of no wheat seed purchases being recorded for August 2015. Purchases of ‘Manufactured Goods’ rose by $3.5 million, due to an increase in imports of construction supplies during the month. Goods destined for the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ and ‘Export Processing Zones’ both recorded declines in comparison to August 2014. The report states that merchandise imports for eight months, from January to August 2015, totaled $1.3 billion, representing a 3.6 percent or $46.6 million increase over the same period last year.
The report further states that domestic exports for August 2015 totaled $33.9 million, a 55.4 percent or a $42.2 million decrease for August 2014. Sugar sales accounted for the largest share of this decline, as exports fell from $34 million to $1 million. According to the SIB, this steep drop in comparison to last August reflected a shift in the timing of sugar shipments, such that only bagged sugar was exported in August 2015, while a large bulk sugar shipment is expected in September. Earnings from crude petroleum dropped sharply by $8 million, from $12 million during August 2014 to $4 million in August 2015, largely due to lower world market prices. Marine exports fell from $12 million to $7 million, owing to reduced farm shrimp sales, compared to the same month last year.
In the citrus industry however, citrus exports resurged during the month of August 2015, with exports doubling from $4 million in last August to $8 million, due to strong orange concentrate sales. In a review of the first eight months of the year, the SIB reports that quote, “merchandise exports for the first eight months of this year totaled $401.9 million, a 15 percent or $70.9 million drop from the same eight months last year. Crude petroleum exports fell steeply during the period, from $77 million to $28 million, as less petroleum was exported and at a much lower price than in 2014. Despite the stronger performance during the month of August 2015, citrus concentrate sales declined by over $9 during the first eight months of 2015, from $80 million to $71 million.
Exports of bananas, on the other hand, were up by $4.5 million from $62 million to over $66 million during the first nine months of the year. Exports to the United Kingdom over the period January to August 2015 declined by $25 million, to $126 million when compared to the same period last year, as a growing portion of Belize’s sugar exports went instead to the United States. Lower shrimp sales also led to a drop in earnings from exports to Mexico.
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