Albania's foreign trade deficit widened by 6.7% y/y to ALL 101.6bn (EUR 724.5bn) in January-May 2014, the statistics institute INSTAT informed. In our calculations, the gap accounted for 7.3% of the projected full-year GDP, up from 7.1% of GDP a year earlier.
The higher deficit came as imports increased by 8.7% y/y. At the same time, exports advanced by 10.6% y/y but in absolute term this was unable to offset higher imports.
The growth in imports was driven by an increase in all groups, with the single exception of the food category, which saw an annual decline of 3.8%. In nominal terms, the main contribution came from textile and footwear, up 22.6% y/y, the group of construction materials, up by 18.2% y/y, as well as imports of minerals, fuels, electricity, which advanced by 9.3% y/y in the period. Machinery and equipment, which was the country's largest import group, registered a 6.5% y/y increase in Jan-May.
The growth in exports was mainly driven by the group of textile and footwear, which increased by 29.2% on the year. This was the country's second largest export sector with a 33.4% share in total. The largest was the minerals, fuels and electricity (a 36.1% share), which however dropped 3.7% y/y. Among other sectors, exports of chemicals and plastics as well as of wood and paper witnessed a double-digit growth in the period. However, in nominal terms these two sectors had a relatively small (4.7%) share in total exports.
In May alone, the country's trade deficit increased by 4.5% y/y to ALL 22.9bn. Exports grew by 8.7% y/y to ALL 25.2bn and imports rose by 6.7% y/y to ALL 48.1bn.
|Foreign trade in Jan-May 2014, ALL mn|
|Import||% y/y||Export||% y/y|
|Food, beverages, tobacco||35,008||-3.8||5,886||18.9|
|Minerals, fuels, electricity||36,798||9.3||38,739||-3.5|
|Chemical and plastics||27,339||-0.1||1,354||24.6|
|Wood and paper||8,386||16.0||3,715||47.1|
|Textile and footwear||25,349||22.6||35,886||29.1|
|Construct. materials and metals||26,580||18.2||15,198||6.0|
|Machinery, equipment, spare parts||36,979||6.5||3,497||7.8|
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