GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands – (CNS) Cayman was on something of a spending spree last year, importing a record amount of goods, with the total value brought into the islands increasing by 15.7 percent to reach CI$1,058.6 million, compared to the $914.8 million worth of imports in 2017.
The growth was reported in the latest foreign trade statistics produced by the economics and statistics office and was due to the quantity of non-oil products, with everything increasing, from clothes and food to camera equipment and furniture.
The value of fuel imports rose by 21.5 percent, but this was largely down to the increase in the price, as the actual quantities fell slightly. The amount of goods imported is the highest since 2005, when a significant amount of goods were imported as a result of the post-Hurricane Ivan rebuild.
While there was an increase in the importation of fruit and vegetables as well as water, this healthy trend was countered by the importation of cigarettes, which grew by more than 50 percent at a value of over CI$5 million. Wine imports also grew by nearly 42 percent.
As always, the bulk of goods purchased last year (more than 81%) came from the United States, but as an overall share of imports it declined marginally with imports from Jamaica, Mexico and the UK. An increase in imports from Switzerland as a result of an increase in the number of watches retailers imported.
Despite recent concerns about the number of cars on Cayman roads, the ESO report suggested that the value ($44 million) and quantity of passenger vehicles fell slightly in 2018 compared to 2017, down by 11.5 percent. “This was driven primarily by the decrease in both the quantity and the average value of vehicles imported,” the report stated.
However, this contrasts with figures from the customs department that the premier revealed in the legislative assembly earlier this month, which indicated there were around 150 more vehicles imported in 2018 than in 2017.