Trade deficits up in Bonaire and Saba, but down in Statia

The value of im­ports and exports of goods in Bonaire increased last year by one fifth relative to 2020. Both Bonaire and Saba saw their trade deficits rise. St. Eustatius, on the other hand, recorded a lower trade deficit compared to 2020, the Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) reported.

The islands of the Carib­bean Netherlands have struc­tural trade deficits, meaning that more goods are import­ed than exported. Production of goods is low on the islands in comparison with the Euro­pean Netherlands.

In general, therefore, an increase in the trade of goods results in larger trade deficits. In the Caribbean Netherlands, most revenue comes from services, tourism in particular. However, this CBS report focuses on goods trade only.

Goods trade deficits of St. Eustatius (top) and Saba. (CBS graphic)

In 2021, Bonaire ran a trade deficit of US $282 mil­lion. This amount is one fifth higher than in the previous year. In 2020, the island’s trade deficit narrowed for the first time in six years.

In 2021, imported goods represented a value of $292 million, the highest amount since measurements started in 2011. Imports increased by $48 million between 2020 and 2021. Bonaire exported $10 million in goods last year. The export value was up by a fifth on the previous year.

According to the CBS, there are no indications that the development of the trade deficit in Bonaire, Saba and Statia is related to the coronavirus crisis. In 2021, Bonaire recorded higher deficits than in 2020 for all categories of goods.

Bonaire’s trade deficit grew by $46 million between 2020 and 2021. Machinery and transport equipment ac­counted for the larger part of this amount at $19 million, followed by food and live animals ($10 million). These two categories also contrib­ute the most to the island’s deficit in absolute terms. Last year, Bonaire recorded a trade deficit in machinery and transport equipment of $77 million, which is one third higher than in 2020. The trade deficit in food and live animals increased by 22 per cent to $55 million in 2021.

Between 2020 and 2021, Statia’s trade deficit declined for the fourth year in a row, by four per cent. Goods im­ports exceeded exports by $38 million. Imports fell by five per cent to $39 million. The export value of $1 mil­lion was 28 per cent below the level of 2020.

In 2021, Saba imported six per cent more goods than in 2020. The import value stood at $22 million. The export value amounted to nearly $1 million. On balance, Saba’s trade deficit increased by five per cent in 2021.

The Daily Herald.

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