Jordan’s trade gap widens 10% y/y in January-April

By bne IntelliNews June 22, 2016

Jordan’s external position worsened in the first four months of the year amid worryingly falling exports whose full impact remains partially softened by mildly rising imports. The trade deficit expanded 10.3% y/y to JOD3.14bn ($4.43bn) at end-April, in a pattern that will also weigh on Jordan’s chronic current account deficit in 2016.

Jordan’s total exports (including re-exports) fell 9.7% y/y to JOD1.55bn in January-April whereas imports grew 2.8% y/y to JOD4.69bn, on strong local and industrial demand that offset falling energy purchases.

The exports/imports ratio fell to 33.1% in January-April from 37.7% the year before.

Apparel remained Jordan’s top single export item, despite falling 6% y/y to JOD272mn in January-April. Phosphates exports, however, grew 14% y/y while those of potassium dropped 48% y/y. Exports of fertilizers dropped 36% y/y during the period. Pharmaceuticals exports, mainly generics, grew 23% y/y at end-April.

Arab countries, mainly Saudi Arabia, remained Jordan’s main export destination at JOD656mn (down 13% y/y) in January-April. Saudi Arabia imported JOD213mn worth of Jordanian goods.

North American NAFTA states followed at JOD312mn. The US imported JOD289mn of Jordanian goods during the period. Non-Arab Asian states (mainly India) ranked third at JOD205mn (down 28%).

Energy imports (crude oil and derivatives) fell 15% y/y to JOD698mn (15% of the total) in January-April. Transport items ranked second at JOD441mn, up 14% y/y, reflecting strong local demand for durable goods.

Arab countries, mainly Saudi Arabia, topped the list of exporters to Jordan with JOD1.014bn (down 22% y/y) in January-April, followed by NAFTA states at JOD364mn.

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