Jordan's trade gap widens 19% to USD 1.3bn in Jan 2014

By bne IntelliNews March 24, 2014

Jordan's foreign trade deficit expanded 18.7% y/y to JOD 894mn (USD 1.26bn) in January 2014 as imports growth outpaced that of exports, according to data published by the DoS statistics office.

Total exports (including re-exports) rose 14.9% y/y to JOD 476.3mn and imports grew 17.4% to JOD 1.37bn supported by industrial demand and private consumption. Re-exports fell 7.7% to JOD 68.7mn in January.

Exports were bolstered by rising sales of fertilisers, vegetables and fruits, phosphates and other goods.

Foreign sales of apparel, mainly to the USA, grew 2.1% y/y to JOD 68.5mn, whereas those of pharmaceuticals (mainly generics) dropped 6.6% to JOD 29.6mn. Foreign sales of crude potassium shrank 22.4% y/y to JOD 26.6mn, whereas those of vegetables and fruits rose 22.7% to JOD 47.1mn. Phosphates exports (up 14% to JOD 26.8mn) and fertilisers (up 416.3% to JOD 41.3mn due to a low prior-year base and recovering external demand ahead of the cultivation season) boosted exports in January.

Arab countries, mainly Iraq, remained Jordan’s main export destination with JOD 200.3mn (up 14.1%) worth of sales. The North American continent followed with JOD 73.5mn (up 3.8%). Non-Arab Asian states ranked third with JOD 60.6mn (down 9.7%) and the EU came fourth with JOD 171.4mn (down 20.6%).

A low prior-year base and higher oil prices lifted crude oil imports by 54% y/y to JOD 404.6mn in January. Mechanical appliances imports also increased 74% y/y to JOD 119mn whereas those of electrical equipment fell 59.3% to JOD 59.8mn.

Non-Arab Asian states were Jordan’s top import markets forwarding JOD 478.4mn worth of goods (up 69% y/y). Arab states followed at JOD 408.4mn and the EU third at JOD 243.9n.

Jordan’s current account gap will narrow to 9.1% of GDP in 2014 from 9.9% the year before, the IMF said in its forecasts. 

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