Silicon is Bhutan’s biggest export after electricity

Trade: The country’s overall trade balance is Nu 18.36B in the red between January and September, this year.

Calculations from the two provisional trade statistics (January-June and July-September), finance ministry published reveals that the deficit in trade balance could widen to more than Nu 28B, if the highest export, electricity is excluded.

Balance of trade with India alone is at a deficit of Nu 13.6B and more than Nu 23B without electricity.

A country is said to be experiencing a trade deficit or negative trade balance, if its import bill is more than its export earning.

Until September, Bhutan imported commodities worth of over Nu 46.11B, of which about 38.6B were imported from India. The country’s export value was recorded at around Nu 28B, India accounting for Nu 25B of the exports.

The energy trade in the first nine months of the year exuded a surplus of almost Nu 5B. Power export brought in almost Nu 10B but the country also imported around Nu 5.3B worth of fuel and another Nu 171M of electricity.

While diesel is Bhutan’s top import, valued close to Nu 4B, the country’s top export commodity, apart from electricity is silicon. Bhutan exported silicon worth Nu 5.6B until September.

Since the lifting of import ban in July 2014, value of import of vehicle jumped from Nu 547M in 2013, to around Nu 2B last year. Until September this year the figure increased to about Nu 3.6B

In  2014, without the consideration of electricity export, the country’s trade deficit remained at Nu 31.6B.  Bhutan exported Nu 10.6B worth of electricity, but also imported electricity of Nu 319M.

The last time Bhutan’s export exceeded import was in 2007, after Tala was commissioned and the trade balance was in surplus of around Nu 6B.

Bhutan’s trade as of September, with countries other than India (COTI) was in deficit of around Nu 4.77B. The country’s export value to COTI was Nu 7.5B and imported goods from COTI worth Nu 2.7B.

Of the total imports, more than Nu 30B worth of commodities and almost Nu 10B worth of goods were exported from Phuentsholing.

Even without a formal trade ties, Bhutan imported more than Nu 1B of goods from China. Import wise China comes next to India but the difference in volume of trading is huge.

As for export, Bhutan exported Nu 1.34B worth of goods to Bangladesh, again next to India in terms of export.

Tshering Dorji