U.S.A. new top export destination amid market crash
The United States of America has become the leading export market for Samoa as the export market underwent a major contraction, a Samoa Bureau of Statistics (S.B.S.) report has found.
In a month-by-month comparison, Samoa's overall merchandise exports were found to have declined 54.4 percent (or $4.9 million) to reach $4.18 million as of April this year.
The reduction was mainly driven by a decline in demand for exported fish to American Samoa and Japan as well as supply chain problems caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The findings are contained in an S.B.S. report ("Overseas Merchandise Trade for April 2021") which finds that the U.S.A. now accounts for more than 25 per cent of the country's total merchandise exports. The rising value of the American market reflected higher demand for both taro and noni juice, the study found.
At $1.2 million for the month of April, the U.S.A. displaced Samoa's usual top export markets, such as American Samoa and New Zealand.
Meanwhile, the country's overall trade deficit - a measure comparing the value of exported and imported goods - stood at over $65 million.
The deficit was the result of imports in April being valued at more than $70 million exceeding exports which had an estimated value of $4 million.
According to provisional estimates by the bureau the country's annual trade deficit last year amounted to just under $73 million.
Food and live animals amounted to the vast majority of exports, which totalled more than $51 million. The country's second-largest export market was in mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials which were valued at just over $14 million last year.
April's decrease was due to declining demand for fish, crustaceans and molluscs (down $3.75 million); mineral fuels, mineral oils and products (down $0.29 million); beverages, spirits and vinegar (down $0.18 million); and fruits and nuts (down $0.18 million).
Exports to American Samoa dropped by $2.89 million while those to Japan fell by $1.12 million.
The total value of imports fell by 23.9 percent in the same month under review to $70.14 million.
The decrease in imports was mainly led by mineral fuels, minerals oils and products (which fell by $15.80 million); meat and edible meat offal (down $2.69 million); vehicles, parts and accessories (down $2.41 million); and electrical machinery and equipment (down $2.11 million).
Imports from Asia fell the most, the study found; the drop amounted to more than $21 million. The main driver of the decline was attributed to declining Singaporean exports, which fell by $15.25 million. That fall was mainly caused by a reduction in petroleum imports, the study found.
The main source of imports and exports data comes from custom forms which are required to be filled out by anyone engaged in the import or export business. Data was also sourced from customs agents responsible for clearing merchandise inward and outward through the Ministry for Customs and Revenue.