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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