Trade data for January-June 2017

July 20, 2017

Specifics:

  • The overall trade deficit (before seasonal adjustment) for January-June 2017 was $5.27bn., a drop of more than 8% from the $5.78bn in H1 2016.
  • Both total imports and total exports posted small increases, of 1.3% and 3.5% respectively.
  • The rebound in fuel prices impacted the overall import bill. Excluding ships, aircraft and diamonds, imports rose 3.6% over January-June 2016, but if those items AND fuel imports are excluded, the result is a slump of almost 16%.
  • Fuel imports were $700m higher this year, a rise of 24%. Yet in the first quarter, they had soared by 64% or some $750m., so apparently the surge in imports ended in Q2 and the price effect compared to last year wore off.
  • On the other hand, the fall in vehicle imports continued through the second quarter. For January-June, car imports for business purposes fell by 25% and for personal use by over 21%.
  • Yet imports of machinery & equipment rose 16, so that overall imports of investment goods were roughly flat from H1 2016.
  • The same pattern was apparent in consumer goods’ imports. Durable goods, pulled down by vehicles, were 9% lower but consumer non-durables were up by 8.5%, leaving overall consumer goods virtually unchanged.
  • Manufacturing exports were up some 4.5%, with high-tech exports gaining over 5% and medium-high tech sectors — primarily chemicals — posting a 12% gain over January-June 2017. However, within high-tech exports, the electronics and optics sector showed no growth over the parallel period in 2016.

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