Caribbean exports to decline 23% in 2015, according to IDB Report

Alicia Nicholls

According to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)’s newly released Trade Trends Estimates Latin America and the Caribbean 2016 report,  merchandise exports from the Latin America and Caribbean region (LAC) will experience an estimated 14 per cent drop in 2015, the largest since the international financial crisis, while in aggregate Caribbean exports will decline by an estimated 23%.

The Report notes that while in previous years the contraction varied among subgroups of the LAC region, this year’s fall is estimated to affect the entire LAC region. The contraction is driven by “the sharp correction in prices of the principal export products”. The Report notes that China’s imports from the Region declined sharply in the first part of the year but has stabilised in recent months.

The Report also estimates a 10.3% drop in regional imports and a 19% decline in intra-regional imports.

Caribbean performance

According to the Report, total Caribbean countries’ exports will decline 23% in 2015. In Trinidad & Tobago alone, exports are estimated to decline 27%. If Trinidad & Tobago, which accounts for the lion’s share of Caribbean exports,  is excluded, the contraction in the Caribbean is only by 9 percent. For most countries exports to the Caribbean’s main export markets, the US, EU and the regional market, declined. Barbados is an interesting case; it bucks the regional trend as its exports to both the US and the EU have risen. The island’s estimated 5% drop in exports is mainly due to the decline in intra-regional shipments.

To read the full report, please click here.

Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B. is a trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade.  You can also read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.

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