…while import prices increase by 18.54 percent 

Thukten Zangpo  

The export prices of goods rose by 7.29 percent in the third quarter (July to September) this year compared to the figure in the same period last year, according to the National Statistics Bureau’s report released yesterday.

This means, if the price of the exported goods was Nu 100 in the third quarter of last year, the exporters had sold it at Nu 107.29 in the same quarter this year.

However, an increase in the export prices was outweighed by a higher increase in import prices. The import prices or inflation recorded an increase of 18.54 percent in the quarter.

Bhutan being an import-dependent country, the country is always in a trade deficit. The country’s import figure at Nu 34.27 billion (B) to export at Nu 20.49B in the quarter saw a trade deficit of Nu 13.78B.

In the third quarter, the Bhutanese exporters in base metal businesses gained their prices by 11.18 percent. Base metals contributed about 68 percent of the overall increase.

Similarly, mineral products, cement, and electricity exports saw a 2.07 percent increase in prices. It contributed to 18 percent of the overall increase.

The food and beverages exporters saw an increase in prices by 11.37 percent. It contributed to 10 percent of the overall increase.

Chemicals, plastics, textiles and apparel saw the highest increase with 37.59 percent but their contribution was less than 5 percent.

However, there was a drop in prices for wood, pulp, and paper export. It saw a 7.19 percent down on average over the past year.

Despite the export prices going up, the statistics show that the import prices have increased more than double compared to the export prices. The prices of goods imported rose to 18.54 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period last year.

Mineral products, cement, and electricity imports were the highest among the imported goods at 31.05 percent. These goods contributed 34 percent of the overall increase.

Chemicals, plastics, textiles and apparel saw an increase of 39.72 percent (27 percent of the overall increase) followed by wood, pulp, and paper with 20.9 percent (5 percent of the overall increase).

Similarly, food and beverages that contributed to 6 percent of the overall inflation saw a 4.39 percent increase.

Metal and metal articles with 4 percent contribution saw the least increase of 10.3 percent.

Statistics also show that the prices of the exported goods in the third quarter are on the decline from the previous two quarters. The export prices of the goods rose to 16.1 percent (January to March) and 13.75 percent (April to June) this year from the same period last year.

The export price went down by 1.13 percent in the third quarter from the previous quarter. This was mainly because of a decrease in price of base metals and other manufactured products by 5.87 percent.

Wood, pulp, and paper prices decreased by 3.2 percent and food and beverages decreased by 0.4 percent.

However, the prices of chemicals, plastics, textiles and apparel and mineral products, cement and electricity increased in the third quarter by 6.48 percent and 0.66 percent respectively.

The terms of trade in the third quarter dropped to 87.25, a decline of 9.49 percent compared to the same quarter last year.