The country’s formal trade with its peers in the East African community continued to register a trade deficit in the first half of 2015 as a result of an increase in import receipts and a decline in exports value.
In the first six months of 2015, the trade deficit widened by 16.2 percent to $188.85 million in the first half of 2015 from $ 162.46 in the same period in 2014.
The widening deficit according to Thomas Kigabo, Chief Economist at Central Bank is due imports increasing by 1.4 percent and export receipts declining by 26.8 percent in the first half of 2015.
“The appreciation of our currency against other regional currencies made goods from our neighbors in East Africa relatively cheaper,” he said while speaking to this website.
Accordingly, imports that include cement, refined and no refined palm oil and other cooking oils, sugar, vegetable fats, and clothing increased to $ 251.38 million in the first half of 2015 from $247.97 million in the same period 2014.
While exports that include tea sold at Mombasa commodity exchange, coffee, raw hides and skins of bovine, leguminous vegetables and beer declined to $62.57 million from $ 85.51 million recorded in the first half of 2014.
But tea recorded an increase in its exports which rose by 12.5 percent.
The decrease was mainly due to the fall in exports of beer from malt that declined by 18.3 percent, raw hides and skins 48.9 percent and electrical apparatuses for line telephones 77.6 percent,” a statement from Central Bank indicates.
In relation to the Rwanda’s total exports and imports, formal trade with East African countries contribute 23.0 percent of total exports and 22.2 percent of imports creating an impact in the country trade balance.