Trade Data for November and January 2013
Bottom line: The November trade data confirmed the improvement that began in September and became very visible in October. Several key trends, noted below, .have changed in recent months, contributing to the overall improvement. In particular, we would highlight the increase in imports of investment goods, both of machinery and equipment and of vehicles, as evidence of underlying strength and future growth in the economy.
- The trade deficit, excluding ships aircraft and diamonds and measured on a seasonally-adjusted basis, fell to about $1.12bn per month in October and November, compared to over $1.5bn per month in the preceding four months (June-September) and a reversion to the level seen in January-May ($1.11bn per month). This suggests that the large deficits recorded in the third quarter were a transient phenomenon.
- High-tech manufacturing exports have rebounded strongly, posting an annual rate of increase of 50.4% (3.5% per month) in the latest three-month period (September-November).
- Pharmaceutical exports, in particular, have led the recovery. November exports in this sector were some 60% above the level of November 2012. On the other hand, the weakness in the chemicals sector has intensified.
- Imports of consumer goods have been roughly stable for the last four months, according to trend data.
Imports of investment goods, however, continue to post strong gains.Trend data for investment goods imports, excluding ships and aircraft, have risen for ten successive months and a show a cumulative increase of over 25% in that period.
Graph: Imports, by Commodity Group ( Investment goods), December 2012 – November 2013 (monthly change)