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Belize’s exports continue to fall

Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2018. 3:20 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff:  For the fourth month straight, Belize’s exports have earned less revenue than they did last year.

The latest External Trade Bulletin produced by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) showed that merchandise exports as of April 2018 amounted to $27.2 million – 21.9 percent  ($7.6 million) lower than exports for April 2017, which were valued at $34.9 million.

Merchandise exports for the first four months of 2018 totalled $132.7 million, down 19.6 percent or $32.3 million from the $165 million recorded for the same period last year.

The SIB said that one of the main causes of this decline over the four-month period was a considerable reduction in sugar export earnings, from $57.2  million in 2017 to $38.2 million in 2018.

“This represented the combined effect of scheduling differences in bulk sugar shipments, leading to a drop in the quantity of that commodity exported, and lower world market prices for bulk sugar,” the SIB said.

All other major exports, with the exception of citrus, recorded declines over the first quarter as well. Banana sales went down by 20 percent ($5.9 million); Crude oil quantities fell by one half but higher market prices offset the decline, keeping revenue fall off to only one third or $3.7 million; decreased shrimp exports resulted in a $2.9 million drop in marine sales, from $12.4 million to $9.4 million, despite improved sales of lobster tails.

Citrus products, on the other hand, rose by just under $0.3 million from $30.8 million in 2017 to $31.1 million in 2018, due to an increase in orange concentrate exports and favorable market prices for grapefruit oil.

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