In 2018, the trade deficits of Saba and Bonaire rose while the deficit of St Eustatius declined. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on newly released figures.
The Caribbean Netherlands has a structural trade deficit. This means that the value of imported goods exceeds the value of exported goods. Domestic production of goods is relatively low on the islands.
Saba: largest trade deficit since 2015
Last year, Saba’s trade deficit amounted to 20 million US dollars. This is one-fifth up on 2017, making it the largest deficit since 2015. It grew partly as a result of work on the island’s infrastructure including airport renovation works . Goods imports amounted to 21 million US dollars and goods exports stood at 0.5 million US dollars.
Statia’s trade deficit below 50 million US dollars
In 2018, imports exceeded exports by 47 million US dollars on St Eustatius. This trade deficit was 10 percent down on the previous year but still larger than in 2014. The import value fell by 7 percent to 51 million US dollars, while the export value rose by 59 percent to nearly 4 million US dollars.
Salt exports down on Bonaire
In 2018, Bonaire imported 223 million US dollars worth of goods, 5 percent up on the previous year. Exports stood at 9 million US dollars, 15 percent less than in 2017, largely due to a decline in the export of salt. The island’s trade deficit grew in each consecutive year as of 2014, to 214 million US dollars in 2018.
Smaller share of fuels in Bonaire’s deficit
Machinery and transport equipment were the largest contributors to Bonaire’s trade deficit, with imports exceeding exports by 57 million US dollars. Food and livestock contributed 41 million US dollars. Virtually all categories saw an increase in deficit compared to 2017. Only mineral fuels saw a decline, from 14 million US dollars in 2017 to 3.5 million US dollars in 2018.