JAM | May 8, 2023

Jamaica’s trade deficit falls to three-year low

/ Our Today

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(Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song)

Durrant Pate/ Contributor

Jamaica’s trade deficit fell to a three-year low of US$5.82 billion last year, according to the latest International Merchandise Trade bulletin.

The bulletin, published on Friday (May 5) by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), shows that national expenditure on imports in 2022 is valued at US$7.7 billion, an increase of 29.5 per cent compared to 2021. At the same time, the country generated export earnings of over US$1.9 billion between January and December 2022.

STATIN reports that this increased spending on imports was due mainly to higher imports of “Raw Materials/Intermediate Goods”, “Fuels and Lubricants” and “Consumer Goods”, which rose by 24.4 per cent, 53.7 per cent cent and 21.8 per cent, respectively. This increase surpassed the 2019 pre-pandemic level valued at US$6.40 billion.

Big 102.6% jump in mineral fuel exports

Jamaica generated export earnings of just over US$1.9 billion between January and December 2022, which represents a 28.4 per cent increase over the US$1.48 billion recorded for the corresponding period in 2021. This increase in export earnings is due primarily to a 102.6 per cent increase in the export of “Mineral Fuels”.

Compared to the US$1.65 billion recorded in 2019 (before the COVID-19 pandemic), the value of total exports was 15 per cent higher in 2022. Domestic exports in 2022 amounted to US$1.36 billion, which is 6.7 per cent above the US$1.28 billion recorded in 2021.

However, this is 9.8 per cent lower than the US$1.51 billion recorded in 2019, primarily due to lower alumina exports. Re-exports in 2022 are valued at US$534.0 million in 2022, a significant increase compared to 2021 and 2019.

Main trading partners

Jamaica’s five main trading partners for 2022 were the United States, China, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago and Japan. Expenditure on imports from these countries increased by 33.7 per cent to US$4.97 billion.

This increase was due mainly to the higher imports of fuel from the USA and Trinidad and Tobago. The top five destinations for Jamaica’s exports were the USA, Puerto Rico, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Exports to these countries increased by 46.3 per cent to US$1.40 billion, mainly due to higher fuel exports to the USA.


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