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    Foreign trade: worsening trade deficit in 2019

    The purchase of fuel following the shutdown of Sonara and the imports of rice increased this indicator by 12, 3% compared to last year.

    By Lucien Bodo

    The National Institute of Statistics (Ins) has just published a note on foreign trade in Cameroon in 2019. It appears that the import expenditure amounts to 3 856, 9 billion CFA francs, an increase of 13, 3% compared to 2018. The value of exports also increased by 12, 3% in 2018 compared to the previous year. This reached 2392, 8 billion CFA francs, an increase of nearly 280, 4 billion CFA francs. The ratio between imports and exports shows that the country’s trade deficit widened further, reaching 1 404, 2 billion CFA francs. Which represents an increase of 12, 3% in relative value and 143 billions Fcfa in absolute value.

    According to the Ins, this imbalance was accentuated because of the fuel purchases in connection with the cessation of the activities of the National Refining Company (Sonara) . In the night of 31 May to 1 st

    June 2019, the only refinery in the country was the victim of a serious fire which resulted in the shutdown of all its production units. In order to continue to provide supplies at the national level, the authorities have increased the quantity of imported petroleum products. Thus, for last year, the invoice for imports of these goods amounts to 576, 6 billion CFA francs against 473, 9 billion CFA francs in 949. Or an increase 243, 2 billion CFA francs.

    Rice

    The trade deficit also owes its widening to the imports of certain food products such as rice. In 2019, the country broke its import record for this product. The quantities have indeed gone from 561 112 tonnes in 2018 at 894 486 tonnes for the year 2019, an increase of 59, 4%. These imports cost 231, 8 billion Fcfa, increasing by 59, 9% compared to 949. A quantity much greater than the national demand which is 576 949 tonnes according to the minist è re de l Agriculture and Rural Development.

    Excluding oil, indicates the Ins, the trade balance deficit is more pronounced and amounts to 2 243, 8 billion CFA francs, an increase of 261 billions Fcfa (12, 2%) in relation to the year 2018. The worsening of the non-oil deficit is linked to the increase in non-oil imports to the tune of 280, 7 billion CFA francs (11, 5%). At the same time, non-crude oil exports only increased by 120, 2 billion CFA francs (08, 5%). The trade balance is more in deficit excluding crude oil and gas, with an imbalance amounting to 2 464, 2 billion CFA francs. An amount which reflects an increase of 280 billions Fcfa (19, 5%) in relation to the year 2018.

    Exports

    For its part, the upward trend in exports, explains the note from Ins, results essentially from exports of crude petroleum oils which recorded an increase of 15, 9%, reflecting the dynamism of local production. The exported quantities of this hydrocarbon change from 19, 2% compared to the year 949. Besides oil, (038, 8%), Cameroon’s main export products are: raw cocoa beans (12, 1%), liquefied natural gas (11%), sawn timber (7.0%), raw cotton (5.4%), raw logs (3.6%), processed cocoa products (3 , 3%) and raw aluminum (2.4%). 120 countries welcomed Cameroonian products during the last financial year. The main customers nevertheless remain China, Italy and India, with respective market shares of 15, 4%, 12, 2% and 08, 0%.

    This article was written and posted first by Mutations

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