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Statistical Institute: Imports were down for the first two months of this year

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Posted: Tuesday, April 6, 2021. 9:21 am CST.

By BBN Staff: The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) is reporting that Belize’s import expenditure for the first two months of 2021 was more than 10 percent lower than it was for the same period in 2020.

The SIB said that merchandise imports for the first two months of the year, January to February 2021, amounted to $271.6 million, representing a 12.7 percent or $39.6 million decrease from the same period last year.

The ‘Manufactured Goods’, ‘Crude Materials’ and ‘Oils and Fats’ saw notable decreases, as well as the ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’ category, which fell by almost 30 percent or $20.9 million, from $71.4 million in 2020 to $50.5 million in 2021, due to reduced purchases of aviation equipment, vehicles, and pumps. The SIB noted that the  ‘Commercial Free Zones’ and ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ saw the most significant declines.

“Imports destined for the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ declined by 27 percent or $13.4 million, as decreased purchases of handbags and clothing drove this category down from $50.3 million to $36.9 million,” the SIB said. “The ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ category, likewise, declined by 30 percent or more than $13 million during the period, from $44.1 million in 2020 to $30.9 million in 2021, a downturn attributable mainly to decreased imports of butane, kerosene, bunker C and premium fuels.”

The SIB said that, despite the downturn in overall imports, a number of commodity categories still managed to see increases during the two-month period, with the most significant being the ‘Beverages and Tobacco’ category, which more than doubled compared to the same period last year.

“The ‘Beverages and Tobacco’ category grew by $8.4 million, from $7.3 million in 2020 to $15.7 million in 2021, an increase due to larger imports of beer meant for re-export,” the SIB added.

Other categories that saw an increase include Chemical Products, Food, and Live Animals, and Other Manufacturers.

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