The amount by which Guyana’s imports exceeded exports has been reduced by 92 percent for the first half of 2016, compared to the corresponding period in 2015. The country’s balance of trade deficit for the first half of this year stood at US$19.1M compared to US$250.6M for the corresponding period in 2015.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan displays a copy of the Midyear report at the Ministry of Finance
These figures are stated in the Ministry of Finance’s, mid-year report for 2016. The report further states that Guyana exported merchandise valued at US $666.4M in the first half of 2016, an increase of US$147.2M compared to that of US $519.2M for a similar period last year.
The increase in merchandise export is credited to the performance of the extractive sector. Gold exports more than doubled with declared exports of US $390.7M for the first half of the year, compared to US $188.3M for the corresponding period last year.
Merchandise imports for the first half of 2016 showed a reduction of 10.1 percent over that of 2015. Imports for 2016 stood at US $699.5M compared to US $777.8M for the corresponding period last year.
Semi-durable, non-durable and durable goods all recorded increases in the quantity imported for the first half of 2016, over the same period for last year.
The importation of consumption goods increased by 4.7 percent from US$188.4M in 2015 to US$197.3M in 2016.
Despite exporting more bauxite, foreign exchange earned from this sector fell from US $53.3M to US $46.3 million, a direct result of world market prices for the commodity.
Similarly, Guyana’s diamond exports attracted lower income despite a higher volume of export for the first six months of 2016 compared to that of 2015.
Decline in export quantities were recorded in the agricultural sector. Income from sugar fell from US $30.4M for the first half of 2015, to US $20.8M for the first half of this year, a decline of 31.4 percent. The reduction in income from sugar export is directly attributable to a reduced quantity of export since higher prices were paid. The reduced amount of sugar exported is attributed to the lower production which resulted from El Nino weather conditions in the first half of 2016.
Conversely, rice also experienced reduced export earnings, from US $125.7M in the first half of 2015 to US$88.3M for the corresponding period in 2016. The reduction in income from rice export was a direct result of the loss of the Venezuelan rice market, which paid substantially higher prices than that of the world market prices.