Trade deficit narrows fur­ther as ex­ports con­tinue to rise

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The trade deficit widened fur­ther in the first quar­ter of the year, af­ter two con­sec­u­tive months of rel­a­tive sta­bil­ity in im­ports and in­crease in ex­ports, ac­cord­ing to the sta­tis­ti­cal ser­vice Cy­s­tat.

To­tal im­ports/ar­rivals in Jan­uary-March amounted to EUR 1,156.4 mln as com­pared to EUR 1,152.8 mln in Jan­uary-March 2014.

To­tal ex­ports/dis­patches in Jan­uary-March were EUR 519.2 mln com­pared to EUR 355.5 mln in the first quar­ter of 2014.

As a re­sult, the trade deficit nar­rowed to EUR 637.2 mln in Jan­uary-March this year com­pared to EUR 797.3 mln in the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod of 2014.

Lead­ing the list of im­ports was ‘min­eral prod­ucts’ with EUR 293.1 mln fol­lowed by ‘chem­i­cal or other in­dus­trial prod­ucts’ with EUR 138.2 mln, and ‘food­stuffs, bev­er­ages, and to­bacco’ with EUR 136.7 mln.

The Euro­pean Union con­tin­ued to be the main source of sup­ply of goods to Cyprus ac­count­ing for 73% mainly from Greece, Italy, Ger­many, the United King­dom and Bulgaria. Im­ports from the rest of the world were dom­i­nated by Is­rael, China and In­dia.

The big­gest cat­e­gory of ex­ports was ‘ve­hi­cles, air­craft, ves­sels and trans­port equip­ment’, fol­lowed by min­eral and chem­i­cal prod­ucts, sug­gest­ing these are re-ex­ports, as Cyprus does not have a man­u­fac­tur­ing or chem­i­cal sec­tor, apart from ce­ment.

The tra­di­tional cat­e­gories of ‘live an­i­mals and an­i­mal prod­ucts’, ‘food­stuffs, bev­er­ages and to­bacco’ and ‘veg­etable prod­ucts’ only ac­counted for 7%, 5% and 4% of ex­ports, re­spec­tively.

For the month of March alone, im­ports were un­changed year-on-year, at EUR 424.8 mln, while ex­ports were up to EUR 156.0 mln in March 2015 com­pared with EUR 138.1 mln in March 2014.

The trend fol­lows the Jan­uary-Fe­bru­ary two-month pe­riod when the trade deficit nar­rowed by just over a quar­ter from a year ear­lier to EUR 368.6 mln from EUR 510.6 mln, with im­ports marginally up, but ex­ports leap­ing about 60%, prob­a­bly due to the re-ex­port of liq­uid fu­els from the Vi­tol-owned VTTV stor­age fa­cil­ity in Vas­si­liko that started work in De­cem­ber 2014.

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