Albania's foreign trade deficit widened by 6.9% y/y to ALL 78.4bn (EUR 560.2bn) in January-April 2014, the statistics institute INSTAT informed. In our calculations, the gap accounted for 5.6% of the projected full-year GDP, up from 5.4% of GDP a year earlier.
The higher deficit came as imports increased by 9% y/y. At the same time, exports advanced by 11.2% 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 5.1% decline. In nominal terms, the main contribution came from the textile and footwear, up 25.6% y/y, the group of construction materials, up by 19.1% y/y, as well as the imports of minerals, fuels, electricity, which advanced by 10.4% y/y in the period. The imports of machinery and equipment, which was the country's second largest import group, rose by 3.8% y/y in Jan-Apr.
The growth in exports was mainly driven by the group of textile and footwear, which increased by 30.5% on the year. This was the country's second largest export sector with a 35.2% share in total. The largest was the minerals, fuels and electricity (a 35.3% share), which remained unchanged 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 (5%) share in total exports.
In April alone, the country's trade deficit increased by 11.8% y/y to ALL 21.3bn. Exports grew by 10.4% y/y to ALL 22.7bn and imports rose by 11.1% y/y to ALL 44bn.
|Foreign trade in Jan-Apr 2014, ALL mn|
|Import||% y/y||Export||% y/y|
|Food, beverages, tobacco||26,677||-5.1||4,402||23.8|
|Minerals, fuels, electricity||28,932||10.4||29,002||0.0|
|Chemical and plastics||20,667||2.9||1,017||26.3|
|Wood and paper||6,403||22.3||3,108||55.5|
|Textile and footwear||19,361||25.6||28,902||30.5|
|Construct. materials and metals||20,831||19.1||10,740||-6.9|
|Machinery, equipment, spare parts||28,524||3.8||2,709||9.2|
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