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Belize importing more, exporting less, says Statistical Institute

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Posted: Thursday, July 29, 2021. 9:37 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Belize is back to normal, so to speak, in the balance of trade.

For June 2021, Belize imported $189 million worth of goods, a sharp increase of 82 percent from the same month last year in the teeth of the pandemic.

Conversely, Belize exported just $28 million worth of goods, down a third from June of 2020.

Top imports include goods for the Commercial Free Zone (cigarettes, footwear and clothing); steel rods, cement and steel coils, solar panels, fuel, instant (Ramen) noodles, wheat, other foodstuffs, lighting fixtures, computers, and monitors.

Nearly all major export categories went down including sugar, due to changed schedules for bulk shipments. Rare increases were recorded for citrus concentrate and petroleum, which contributed about $200,000.

At the halfway mark of the year, Belize has imported goods valued at $949.5 million, representing a 19.6 percent or $155.8 million increase from the same period last year, when imports totaled $793.7 million. Almost every commodity category increased during the first half of this year, marking a return to normal import levels, as the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic led to sizeable reductions in imports for that same period in 2020.

Exports were valued at $200.4 million, up 4.8 percent or $9.2 million from the same period last year.

Increases were recorded for animal feed ($6.1 million in 2020 to $13.6 million in 2021); sugar ($65.9 million to $69.1 million), pepper sauce ($2.8 million to $3.8 million), and bananas rose slightly by $0.4 million, from $43.4 million in 2020 to $43.8 million in 2021. Crude petroleum exports for the first half of this year totaled just under $0.3 million, with no exports of this commodity reported for the first six months of last year.

On the other hand, citrus fell to $22.8 million; red kidney beans stumbled to $7.2 million and marine products slumped to $14.8 million.

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