Report shows export revenues decrease

Export revenues for Samoa dropped for the second month in a row in 2020 according to the Central Bank of Samoa.

The “Foreign trade and international commodity prices report for March 2020” highlights a drop of 0.7 per cent or $0.05 million with the final figure recoded at $7.28 million.

The drop was due to a 17.5 per cent decrease in re-exports despite an increase of 24.9 per cent in domestically produced exports (driven by increases in taro, beer and nonu juice). 

This month’s result was 36.5 per cent lower compared to March 2019 and was well below its average gains of 31.4 per cent and 26.4 per cent in the last three years and five years respectively.

As a result, total export earnings for the first nine months of 2019/20 slightly increased by 0.01 per cent compared to the same period in 2018/19.

While maintaining its prominence in Samoa’s export scene was the Pacific region, with a total share of 72.6 per cent followed by Asia, North America and Europe at shares of 15.1 per cent, 10.8 per cent and 1.6 per cent in that order.

The total import payments widened 2.4 per cent or $1.6 million to $70.4 million reflecting an increase in non-petroleum private sector imports by 17.6 per cent offsetting decreases in both petroleum (down $4.4 million) and Government (down $1.9 million) imports.

Furthermore, total imports dropped by 15.0 per cent when compared to the same month of 2019 and was much lower than its average increases of 16.9 per cent and 20.3 per cent in the past three and five years respectively.

In the first nine months of 2019/20, total import payments were 1.8 per cent higher (to $692.5 million) than the same period in 2018/19, due to an increase in non-petroleum private sector imports. 

The bulk of Samoa’s imports continued to source from the Asian region (main source for petroleum imports) with a share of 45.0 per cent from 53.6 per cent in February 2020.

The Pacific region, followed closely with a share of 40.6 per cent while North America and Europe recorded shares of 13.1 per cent and 1.2 per cent in that order. 

The trade deficit in March 2020 slightly expanded by 2.8 per cent to $63.1 million compared to the preceding month but was 11.6 per cent lower than that of March 2019.

The total trade deficit for the first nine months of 2019/20 edged up by 2.1 per cent compared to the previous period in 2018/19.

The report added that prices for most of the globally traded commodities recorded mixed trends for the month.

On the import side, beef, chicken and wheat prices all decreased by 5.3 per cent, 4.3 per cent and 2.9 per cent whereas the rice prices bounced back up by 9.8 per cent. On the export side, cocoa prices fell by 14.0 per cent due to weak demand. 

As stated by the World Bank, the average spot price of crude oil contracted by 39.6 per cent to USD $32.20 per barrel reflecting a complex consequences of COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in a very low demand. 

Similarly, it was 49.5 per cent lower when compared to March 2019, a contraction that was lower than its average gain of 20.7 per cent in the past three years and 3.3 per cent drop in the past five years.  

Starting in January 2019, export figures (volume, value and unit price) in Central Bank of Samoa (C.B.S.) reports, will use export data from the Samoa Bureau of Statistics (S.B.S.) trade statistics, which source from the Customs Department’s database.

Previously, export figures in C.B.S. reports were taken from its Foreign Exchange Control Export License data. This switch will ensure better consistency of trade statistics between C.B.S. and S.B.S. by using a single source. We have also amended and standardised the metric of volume for the different export products in our export table. 

For all liquid export products like beer and coconut cream, we will use litres, and for solids like fish and taro, we will use kilogrammes and/or metric tons (thousand kilogrammes). This avoids confusion in using many different metrics like pounds, cartons, cases; and it will also improve comparability of various export commodities. The historical series of export data will be revised to reflect this change for consistency and comparability of export data. 


Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?