The economy may not be visibly cranking up but the good news is that exports in the first five months of the year increased by more than 15 per cent or Lm49.9 million when compared to the same period last year.
On the other hand imports for the same period also increased by 10 per cent or Lm52.4 million.
During the month of May this year, total imports reached Lm112.5 million, which is Lm8.3 million less when compared to May 2005.
The importation of industrial supplies increased by Lm5 million to Lm56.1 million. At the same time imports of capital goods, consumer goods and fuel and lubricants all registered decreases of Lm4.7 million, Lm1.2 million and Lm7.4 million respectively when compared to the figures of last year.
In the month under review, total exports showed an increase of Lm10.9 million to Lm82.9 million from Lm72 million in respect of May of the previous year.
Total imports for the period January-May 2006 increased by Lm52.4 million or 10.1 per cent to Lm571.3 million from Lm518.9 million for the same period of last year.
Imports of industrial supplies increased by Lm26.2 million or 11 per cent to Lm264 million with the importation of capital goods also going up to Lm111 million, representing an increase of Lm19.3 million or 21 per cent.
Meanwhile, consumer goods imports increased by Lm7.0 million or 5.0 per cent from Lm140.6 million to Lm147.6 million. Imports of Fuel and Lubricants registered a marginal decrease of Lm0.1 million or 0.2 per cent.
In the period January-May 2006, total exports increased by Lm49.9 million or 15.3 per cent to Lm375.8 million from Lm325.9 million of the same period of 2005.
During May 2006 the visible trade gap narrowed by Lm19.2 million to Lm29.6 million from Lm48.8 million of the same month of 2005, with the overall visible trade gap for the first five months of 2006 widening by Lm2.5 million to Lm195.5 million from Lm193.0 million reported in the period January-May 2005.
During the first five months of 2006, arrivals from European Union countries reached Lm379.8 million or 66.5 per cent of total imports. The main trading partners within the EU were Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany and France with Lm158.9 million, Lm54.8 million, Lm48.6 million and Lm45.1 million respectively. Imports from Asia totalled
Lm94.6 million, or 16.6 per cent of total imports, with Singapore registering Lm23.7 million followed by China with Lm14 million and Japan with Lm13.8 million.
Figures indicate that imports from North and Central American countries totalled Lm43.4 million or 7.6 per cent, of which Lm39.3 million coming from the United States, while those from other European countries reaching Lm24.4 million or 4.3 per cent.
Total dispatches to the European Union for the period January-May 2006 amounted to Lm190.7 million, representing 50.7 per cent of the total figure for exports. France, with
Lm55.9 million, followed by Germany with Lm49.9 million, the United Kingdom with
Lm37.6 million and Italy with Lm13.6 million were the four main trading partners within the EU. Exports to Asia stood at Lm99.3 million, or 26.4 per cent, while those to North and Central American countries reached Lm54.9 million, accounting for 14.6 per cent.