The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) reports that merchandise exports for the period January to August 2019 totaled just above $298 million, up 6.9 percent or $19.2 million from $278.8 million for the same period last year.
The SIB notes that a surge in earnings from sugar, coupled with marked increases from both banana and marine exports led to this overall growth over the first eight months of the year.
Notwithstanding a drop in world market prices, revenues from sugar rose sharply by more than $23 million, from $86.5 million in 2018 to $110.2 million in 2019, due to a considerable 34.9 per cent increase in exported quantities of this commodity over the period. Earnings from bananas went up from $46.3 million to $51.6 million, while revenues from improved sales of lobster products and shrimp led to an increase in marine exports from approximately $23 million in 2018 to $25.2 million in 2019.
It was not all good news from the SIB. The statistical body reported that despite the increase in total exports, the period saw a particularly steep decline in exports of citrus products. Owing mostly to reduced shipments of orange concentrate, along with diminished sales of orange oil, earnings from citrus exports dropped by nearly 29 per cent or $17.5 million, from $60.6 million in 2018 to $43.1
million in 2019. Additionally, due largely to falling world market prices, revenues from crude petroleum exports fell by almost $3 million, from $15.9 million to $12.9 million over the eight-month period.
While the year to date figures show import growth, the year over year figures are less encouraging. The SIB reported that Belize’s total imports for the month of August 2019 were valued at $169.5 million.
The major trading partners of Belize are the United States, the United Kingdom, Caricom, the European Union and Central America.