A National Statistics Bureau report shows that Bhutan’s trade deficit improved by -32.42 percent last year.
The trade balance in current prices was recorded at a deficit of Nu 29.124 billion (B) in 2019, which accounted for 16.34 percent of the GDP. In 2018, the trade deficit had increased by 13.03 percent.
The growth in exports is attributed to an increase in export of boulders and electricity.
The economy also recorded a decrease in import. Import restrictions were imposed in March this year as part of the Covid-19 measures.
The economy noted accelerated export growth of 14.39 percent from 4.58 percent growth in previous year.
The export of goods accounted for 79.40 percent of the total export. On the other hand, export of services accounted for 20.59 percent of the export.
The export recorded an accelerated growth of 19.12 percent as against the growth of –7.65 percent in 2018.
The total value of export of goods and services in current price was valued at Nu 60.602B last year, which accounted for 34.01 percent of the GDP, up by 3.19 percentage points.
The total value of import in current prices was recorded at Nu 89.726B compared with Nu 93.521B in the previous year. The total import value accounted for 50.35 percent of the GDP.
Within the imports, goods accounted for 81.66 percent and services 18.34 percent.
However, the import of goods and services dropped by –6.6 percent as compared to accelerated growth of 8.21 percent in the previous year. As a result, the import growth declined by 14.8 percentage points from the previous year.
The import of goods observed a drop by negative -4.99 percent and services by negative –13.19 percent as compared to 2018.
The trade deficit is expected to decrease in 2020 as well.
As per provisional figures with the Ministry of Finance, Bhutan’s trade deficit declined by 32 percent in the first half of 2020 compared to figures for the same period of last year.
In absolute figures, the trade deficit decreased to Nu 12.84 billion (B) from Nu 19B in the same period last year.
Imports decreased to Nu 30.84B in the first half of this year from Nu 32B for the same period of last year.
Exports on the other hand increased to Nu 18B in the first half of this year from Nu13B for the same period last year.
The increase was driven mainly by the increase in the export of electricity to India due to the commissioning of the Mangdechhu hydroelectric project in June last year. The project started to generate revenue in the second half of last year.