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Trade turnover increases, but imbalance remains

By Ernest Petrosyan
Wednesday, April 25
Georgian external trade turnover, as of the first quarter of 2012, has increased by 17% from the same period in 2011, reaching $2.24 billion (all figures USD), Georgian national statistics office Geostat reported on Tuesday.

Compared to the first quarter of 2011, exports amounted to $539 million, experiencing a 16% increase. Imports, however, grew faster than exports in comparison to previous years’ figures, and amount to $1.7 billion, 17% more than the January-March period of 2011.

According to Geostat, trade turnover with EU member states increased by 26%, amounting to $621 million, and making up 28% of Georgia’s total external trade. However, the trade balance with EU countries remains negative. Georgia imports five times more from the EU than it exports, $515 million against $105 million.

In comparison, trade turnover with the Commonwealth of Independent States has increased by only 7%, and making up 32% ($715 million) of Georgia’s total foreign trade. The trade balance is less negative than that with the EU, with exports of $242 million against imports of $472 million.

Turkey has maintained its position as Georgia’s largest trade partner, with $324 million, followed by Azerbaijan at $282 million, Germany $163 million, Ukraine $161 million, China $125 million, Russia $121 million, the United States $94.7 million, Bulgaria $83 million, Japan $63 million, and Kazakhstan $61 million.

Georgia is exporting a similar selection of goods as last year. The re-export of cars amounted to 19.6% of the country’s total exports, consisting of $105 million in the first quarter of 2012. The impact of car re-exports is nominal in terms of trade balance, as the real benefit is extremely low in comparison to the abovementioned figure.

Automobile re-export is followed by ferroalloys at a value of $59 million, making its share in total exports 11%, including re-export from Azerbaijan and Armenia. Georgia also exports $40 million worth of nuts (7.5%), $20 million in copper (3.8%), $19 million in nitrogen fertilizer (3.7%), $18 million in non-denatured ethyl alcohol and spirits (3.5%), $17 million in raw or semi-processed gold (3.3%), $17 million in scrap metal (3.2%), $14 million in the re-export of trucks (2.7%), and $11 million in wheat (2.2%), as of the first quarter of 2012.

Petroleum and other oil products topped the list of imports, amounting to $181 million – 10.6% of total imports. Next is personal automobiles with $154 million (9%), natural and liquefied gas at $104 million (6.1%), wheat with $52 million (3.1%), medicine with $43 million (2.6%), computer parts $25 million (1.5%), vans and buses $24 million (1.4%), electricity $22 million (1.3%), and mobile and other wireless phones $22 million (1.3%).