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Jordan Jan-Sept trade deficit narrows to $5.5bn

Amman, November 24, 2009

Jordan's trade deficit narrowed 22.9 per cent to 3.9 billion dinars ($5.5 billion) from January to September, compared with the same period in 2008, mainly due to a lower bill for Saudi oil imports, official data showed on Tuesday.

Department of Statistics (DOS) data showed the slump in oil prices along with a drop in consumption lowered the value of imports in the period by 21.8 percent to 7.30 billion dinars against 9.34 billion dinars in the same period last year.

Jordan, which imports most of its energy from Saudi Arabia, saw its crude oil import bill in the first nine months of the year fall by 52.6 percent to 768.5 million dinars against 1.62 billion last year, the data showed.

The kingdom's exports totalled 3.37 billion dinars in the period, down 20.5 percent from 4.24 billion dinars in the same period last year.

Iraq ranked among the country's main export markets, buying  goods worth 476.5 million dinars, a 10 percent rise up to September compared with the same period last year.

The country's main hard currency earners include garments sold to US markets under a free trade deal, but exports to the country fell 18 per cent compared with the year-ago period to 470 million dinars, reflecting a slump in US consumption.

Imports from the US however rose 26 percent in the first nine months of this year to 518 million dinars, compared with last year, the trade figures showed.

Due to the global downturn, there was a sharp 53.8 per cent drop in the value of the country's exports of fertilisers to 232 million dinars from January to September compared with last year. Jordan has struggled for years with a chronic trade deficit and spiralling budget deficit.

The current account deficit has traditionally been covered by strong foreign direct investments and portfolio inflows, including remittances from tens of thousands of Jordanians living abroad, mainly in the Gulf Arab region.

Jordan's economic growth rate is expected to drop to 3 percent this year against an average annual rate of around 7 percent in the last decade as the global economic downturn has hit remittances and investments while domestic demand slumped.-Reuters




Tags: Jordan | Trade deficit |

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