Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 28 Feb – The balance of trade deficit for Sao Tome and Principe totaled US$64.3 million in 2006, as a result of estimated imports of US$68.04 million and exports totaling US$3.7 million, official sources said in Sao Tome Wednesday.
According to figures from the Sao Tome and Principe Economy Ministry, in 2006 exports and imports rose 34 percent and 68.6 percent, respectively, against their 2005 levels in dobras (the Sao Tome currency).
The figures showed that the 2006 trade deficit, which totaled 836 billion dobras, or US$64.3 million, which was a 71.1 percent increase on the same year ago period.
In 2005, the balance of trade deficit was US$37.5 million with estimated imports of US$40.3 million and imports of US$2.7 million.
The trade deficit over the last two decades has mainly been due to a fall in exports of agricultural products, especially cocoa, which is considered to be the basis of the Sao Tome economy, as well as low productivity of coconut and coffee plantations.
Due to foreign trade deficits, the archipelago has made use of foreign loans, and currently has foreign debt totaling over US$300 million. (macauhub)