Trade deficit surges by $20 million

Samoa's trade deficit has widened to reach over $67 million in January, an increase of more than $20 million compared to the year before. 

The measurements of trade in the national economy are included in a recent report issued by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics (S.B.S.) “Overseas Merchandise Trade.”

A trade deficit or surplus measures the difference between the value of a country’s exported goods and services compared to those imported.

In January, Samoa’s imports totaled $71.52 million which was exceeded exports worth $4.182 million.

Samoa has continuously recorded a trade deficit over the past five years since 2016, the bureau said. 

But the report's findings state that January's deficit of $67.34 million was a significant increase compared to the same month the year prior of $44.8 million.  

The report found the total value of exports declined by 44.4 per cent or $3.34 million, falling to $4.18 million in January 2021. 

The monthly decrease was due to reductions in the value of exports including fish, crustaceans and molluscs’ (down $0.17 million); minerals fuels, mineral oils and products (down $0.19 million); beverages, spirits and vinegar (down $0.12 million); and vegetable products (down $0.59 million).

Exports to New Zealand dropped by $0.4 million. Exports to Tokelau were down $0.15 million the largest recorded decreases in January 2021 were in products such as coconut oil, taro and taamu.

Limitations om transportation led to the nation registering nil exports to China in January. 

American Samoa continued as Samoa's leading export destination in January and accounted for 38.9 per cent of the total value of exports. 

The total value of goods imported into the country in January also decreased by 15.7 per cent to $71.52 million. 

This fall was mainly led by meat and edible meat offal (down by $0.37 million); mechanical machinery and equipment (down $6.5 million); iron and steel (down $0.21 million); and electrical machinery and equipment (down $1.25 million).

Imports from Asia recorded the largest single market decrease of $5.21 million. Decreases in imports from Singapore were the main driver of the downturn; they fell by $2.39 million mostly as a result of decreased petroleum imports in January. 

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