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P.R.s FY 04 imports register $5.1 billion increase, highest in a decade but worst year for exports, $95.1 million decrease
By LIDA ESTELA RUAÑO
December 30, 2004
Puerto Ricos fiscal year 2004 imports reflected a $5.1 billion increase over FY 2003, $38.9 billion vs. $33.7 billion with manufacturing reflecting a $5 billion increase. Exports registered a $95.1 million decrease over the same period, with chemicals decreasing $2 billion and manufacturing in general showing an $88.4 million decrease.
According to Puerto Rico Planning Board official figures, FY 04 has been the best year for imports during the 1995-2004 decade. It also has been the worst year for Puerto Ricos exports. For example, FY 03 was the second best year for imports, with a close to $5 billion increase over FY 02, $33.7 billion vs. close to $29 billion, respectively. The other years during the decade showed import increases of $1 billion to $2 billion. The exception was FY 02 when imports dropped by $165 million, close to $29 billion vs. $29.1 billion in FY 01.
General trade figures for FY 04 show that agriculture imports increased $14 million, $460.9 million vs. $446.9 million in FY 03 whereas exports increased $3.7 million, $40.6 million vs. $36.9 million during the same period. Within manufacturing, chemical imports reflected a $4.2 billion increase in FY 04, $19.3 billion vs. $15.1 billion in FY 03.
Petroleum and coal products imports showed a $147 million increase, $2.1 billion vs. $1.9 billion. Petroleum and coal products exports showed an $86.5 million increase, $476.2 million vs. $389.7 million. Economist Juan Castañer, who for years headed the Planning Board Economic Analysis division and is now with Estudios Tecnicos, said it is estimated that every $10 increase in a barrel of oil costs the islands economy $750 million per year.
That single issuethe rise in the cost of petroleumwill have a negative effect on Puerto Ricos economy, leading Castañer to predict Puerto Ricos economic growth for FY 2005 will hover around 2.7%. "We should have a better economic growth in FY 2006," he said.
Commerce with the islands principal trading partner, the U.S., reflected a $1.1 billion increase in imports, $17.6 billion in FY 04 vs. $16.5 billion in FY 03 and a $2.2 billion decrease in exports, $45.4 billion vs. $47.6 billion. This has been the biggest drop in exports to the U.S. during the decade.
In FY 04, manufacturing imports from the U.S. registered a $1.1 billion increase, $16.4 billion vs. $15.4 billion in FY 03. Within the manufacturing sector, chemical imports showed a $681.4 million increase, $5.1 billion vs. $4.4 billion, while chemical exports reflected a $3.1 billion decrease, $31.9 billion in FY 04 vs. $35 billion in FY 03.
During FY 04, computer and electronic products showed an increase in both imports, $429.2 million, and exports, $702 million, to the U.S.
Puerto Ricos imports and exports with foreign countries increased during FY 04 by $4 billion.
Trade with the U.S. Virgin Islands increased. Imports went up $66.4 million, $938.1 million vs. $871.7 million in FY 03.
Trade with the Dominican Republic (D.R.) saw a drop in imports and an increase in exports, following the same two-year trend. During FY 04, imports from the D.R. totaled $662 million vs. $685 million in FY 03 .
Manufacturing is the key trade component with the D.R., with Puerto Rico importing $611 million in FY 04 and exporting $754 million. Electrical equipment, appliances, and components were the largest import segment, with $130 million, while exports of these products were $123 million. The largest export sector was apparel, a reflection of the twin-plant concept by which the labor-intensive aspect of production is done in the D.R., while Puerto Rico manufactures the higher-tech.
This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.