Belize’s total imports for the month of February 2016 were valued at $168.3 million, decreasing 2.6 percent or $4.6 million from imports for February 2015, which totaled $172.9 million, this is according to the latest figures released by the Statistical Institute of Belize today. The report shows that Imports destined for the ‘Export Processing Zones’, which fell sharply from $12 million to $4.5 million, were the primary contributors to the month’s decline. Imports into the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ and purchases of ‘Chemical Products’ fell by $2 million and $1.5 million, respectively, in the month of February.
Despite a slight increase in the quantity of premium fuel imported, Belize spent almost $6 million less on ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’, as fuel prices remained lower when compared to the same month of 2015.
Imports of ‘Food and Live Animals’ went up by $2 million. Merchandise imports for January to February 2016 totaled $299.3 million, representing a 4.8 percent or $15.2 million decrease from the same period last year. The ‘Commercial Free Zones’ and ‘Export Processing Zones’ experienced the largest declines in imports within the period, recording a $13 million and $12 million dollar drop, respectively. Similarly, importation of ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ fell by $11 million, from $36 million to $25 million, the result of decreases in the quantities of all major fuels purchased coupled with lower world market prices.
Turing over to Domestic exports for February 2016, this totaled $29.6 million, a 43.1 percent or $22.4 million decrease from the $52 million recorded in February 2015, with all of Belize’s major commodities declining during the month including sales of marine products which fell by more than half from $10 million to $4 million, as farm shrimp exports declined by over $6 million.
Sugar earnings were down from $8 million to $3 million. This shortfall is expected to balance out with a bulk shipment scheduled for March of this year. Citrus and banana exports declined by $3.5 million dollars each, as orange concentrate sales decreased by nearly a third and banana sales were cut by almost a half. The figures produced by SIB show that while more than $6 million in crude petroleum was exported during February 2015, there was none exported during the month of February 2016.
For the first two months of the year Merchandise exports totaled $52.5 million, down 37.9 percent or almost $32 million from the same period last year. As was observed for the month of February, all major exports declined over the two month period. Marine sales suffered the sharpest drop from $22 million to $7 million, resulting in a loss in earnings of over two thirds compared to the same two months in 2015. Additionally, papayas, recorded a sharp decline in sales for the first two months of the year.
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