Mauritius trade deficit has shrunk by 18.1% overall for the first quarter, after falling consecutively for the months of January by 12.6%, February by 29.4% and March by 18.7%.
The difference between Mauritius’ imports and exports narrowed by 18.1% to Rs 14.23 billion ($471.66 million) in the first quarter of 2014 from Rs 17.383 billion a year earlier on the back of lower imports, according to Statistics Mauritius data released on Wednesday.
Also, the deficit was a whopping 39.8% lower than the deficit of Rs 23.64 billion of the previous quarter – the last quarter of 2013 from October to December.
The value of its exports – including sugar and livestock – went up 5% to Rs 21.38 billion as sales of machinery and transport equipment doubled to Rs 1.01 billion from Rs 497 million a year-ago.
Besides, manufactured goods sales also rose to 1.86 billion, higher by 21.6% compared to Rs 1.53 billion for the first quarter of 2013, Statistics Mauritius data showed.
This increase is explained by 55.7% increase in the exports of pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, while textile yarn, fabrics and made up articles also saw rise in sales by 10.1%.
Even as exports rose, imports dropped to Rs 35.62 billion from Rs 37.74 billion in the year-ago period, as purchases of mineral fuel and lubricants came down by 17.3% to Rs 8.24 billion.
Also, food and live animal imports for the first quarter of 2014 were valued at Rs 6.83 billion, lower by 7.0% compared to the corresponding period of last year.
This was primarily on the back of reduced fish imports by 30.0% while wheat imports fell 28.6%.
“Total exports for this year are expected to be of the order of Rs 91 billion, against Rs 175 billion for imports. Consequently, the trade deficit is expected to be around Rs 84 billion,” the Statistics office said.
Britain remained Mauritius’ main export market, accounting for 15.4%, followed by France (13.6%), U.S.A (10.8%), Italy (9.9%), Madagascar (6.9%) and South Africa (6.8%).
In terms of year-on-year comparison, exports towards the main buyers of the island, the USA, France and Madagascar went up by 21.1%, 19.1% and 15.1% respectively, while those to South Africa and United Kingdom fell by 20.2% and 16.4% respectively.
India – which sells petroleum products to Mauritius through its state-owned enterprise Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) – was the main supplier during the quarter with 25.3% of imports.
Finally, in terms of year-on-year comparison, imports from Mauritius’ main suppliers dropped from India by 13.6%, South Africa by 6.8%, and finally from France by 3.0%.
Image (ERC): The value of its exports – including sugar and livestock – went up 5% to Rs 21.38 billion as sales of machinery and transport equipment doubled to Rs 1.01 billion from Rs 497 million a year-ago.
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