Caribbean export recovery shows signs of a slowdown: Bank

A new report by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says that Latin American and Caribbean export recovery continues with signs of slowdown.

The Washington-based financial institution said on Thursday that the value of Latin American and Caribbean exports rose 10.6 percent in the first quarter of 2018 against the same period last year.

The IDB said this was bolstered by higher demand from its main trading partners, particularly from other countries within the region and the European Union.

However, the IDB said this growth was slower than the 11.9 percent registered at the end of 2017, due mainly to lower or flattening commodities prices for such products as coffee, soybeans, sugar and iron ore.

This data is included in the six-month update of the publication, “Trade Trends in Latin America and the Caribbean,” the IDB said.

“After a long period of declining trade, the rise in export volumes is good news,” said Paolo Giordano, the Principal Economist for the Integration and Trade Sector of the IDB and the report’s coordinator.

“However, the region must integrate and diversify more to be better prepared against volatility in commodity prices,” he added.

In 2017, the report says recovery in the total value of Latin American and Caribbean exports was bolstered by greater demand from the region’s main trading partners.

The report says the first quarter of 2018 was marked by a sharp slowdown in shipments to China, as sales to the European Union and countries within the region accelerated.

The Caribbean saw a 5.3 percent rise in its exports in 2017, according to the report.

It says the value of imports to the region jumped 14.3 percent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2018, after rising 9.6 percent on average in 2017.

“This growth has picked up throughout 2017 and early 2018, outstripping the rise in exports,” the report says.

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