Turing over to Domestic exports for August 2016, this totaled $59.3 million, a 66.9 percent or $23.8 million increase from the $35.6 million recorded in August 2015.
A major contributor to this increase is the rise in sugar exports, with sugar sales for the month jumping from $1 million in August 2015 to $34 million in August 2016. For the second consecutive month, sugar production from western Belize contributed a sizeable amount to exports for the month, with sales from this region totaling $5.6 million.
Due to diminished shrimp sales, marine exports fell from $7 million to $3 million, while citrus concentrate exports were reduced from $7.6 million to almost $5 million, due mostly to lessened orange concentrate sales for the month. Banana and crude petroleum exports remained relatively stable, each recording little to no change when compared to August 2015.
For the first eight months of 2016 Merchandise exports totaled $321.2 million, an $83 million or a 20 percent drop from the same period last year.
Despite sugar’s strong performance for August 2016 and an increase of more than 25 percent in the volume of sugar exported over the eight month period, earnings from this product were down by 2.5 percent compared to 2015. This was as a result of lower prices for this commodity on the European market. In contrast, more favorable world market prices led to a 3.5 percent increase in citrus concentrate earnings, notwithstanding a reduction in the volume of orange concentrate exports. Earnings from marine products, bananas and crude petroleum dwindled by a combined $72 million over the eight month period. And when it comes to Imports the total for the month of August 2016 were valued at almost $163 million, increasing 5.3 percent or $8.2 million from imports for August 2015, which totaled $154.8 million; this is according to the latest figures released by the Statistical Institute of Belize today.
As it relates to Machinery and Transport Equipment , increased purchases of telecommunications equipment, motor boats and aircraft engines led to a $9 million growth in this area, while the $7 million rise observed in goods destined for the Commercial Free Zones was largely the result of an increase in the importation of school bags, purses and various clothing items.
Notably, the quantities of regular, premium and kerosene fuels imported declined by 25 percent each during the month, resulting in a $3.6 million decrease in the ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ category. A $1 million decline in the category of ‘Beverages and Tobacco’ was the result of a distinct drop in beer imports for the month.
Since the start of 2016, Belize has imported $1.3 billion worth of goods, representing a 2.4 percent or $32 million decrease from the corresponding eight-month period in 2015.
The Export Processing Zones category experienced the steepest decline over the period, with imports of the former falling by $43 million due to less shrimp feed imports, while that of the and the Mineral Fuels and Lubricants dropped by $39 million, mainly due to lower world market prices for fuel. Imports of ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’, on the other hand, grew by $58 million, most of which was accounted for by an increase in purchases of parts for telecommunications equipment.
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