DROP in imports attributed largely to the significant trade surplus recorded for Solomon Islands during the March quarter.
This was after the local economy made a $142.8 million as trading surplus in the first quarter of this year (2018), an improvement trailed after a deficit of $334.2 million observed in the final quarter of 2017.
The Solomon Islands National Statistics Office (SINSO) disclosed this in its quarterly statistical report on International Merchandise Trade (IMT) made available on Friday 2 November, 2018.
Releasing the report, Government Statistician Douglas Kimi said the extra was strengthened by a significant drop in imports to $1,075.7m per -28.7 per cent and a rise in exports to $1,180.6m by 3.8 per cent from the 2017 final quarter.
“The decline in imports derive mainly from falls in food imports, animal and vegetable oils and machinery and transport equipment, while rises in exports were driven by an upturn in palm oil, logs, fish and alluvial gold exports.
“In terms of the corresponding quarter a year ago, this surplus represent an increase of $85m per 148 per cent over a surplus of $57.5m in 2017,” Mr. Kimi explained.
The movement of goods into and out of the country is an important aspect of the nation’s economic development.
On major exports in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the corresponding quarter of 2017, Mr. Kimi stated that round log and sawn timber exports increased by $373.1m by 66 per cent to $938.7m while total of fresh/frozen and canned fish increased by $57.4m per 65 per cent to $146m.
“Total agricultural products decreased by $23.6m by 21 per cent to $90.3m. This was mainly driven by low exports of palm oil thru 15 per cent, palm kernel oil/meal by 74 per cent, copra 25 per cent and cocoa 7.8 per cent. Gold has increased by $154 through 2 per cent to close to $8m.”
Meanwhile, on major imports the Government Statistician said food imports, which is comprised mostly of rice and canned meat, increased by $101.3m per 91 per cent to $213.2m while mineral fuel and lubricant imports increased by $57.7m per 35 per cent to $222.6m and machinery and transport equipment increased by $66.8m per 26 per cent to $327.1m.
Merchandise trade balance with major trading partners in the March quarter of 2018 compared to the same quarter in 2017 records the following:
• The trade deficit with Singapore, the main source of fuel imports, increased by $47.2m per 27.1 per cent to $221.7m.
• The trade deficit with Australia increased by $50.1m per 37.9 per cent to $180.4m.
• The trade deficit with Papua New Guinea widened by $3.6m per 35.1 per cent to $14m.
• The trade surplus with South Korea decreased by $2.3m per 150.3 per cent to a deficit of $0.77m.
• The trade surplus with China, the main destination of exported logs, increased by $187.4m per 38.1 per cent to $679m.
• The trade surplus with Italy, the main destination of fish-loin exports, increased by $17m by 33.3 per cent to close to $68m.
– SINSO Press