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Geostat: Russia no longer Georgia's largest export partner

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, May 21
The National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat) released the preliminary data for the foreign trade turnover of goods in Georgia in January-April 2020, which excluding undeclared trade amounted to $3,463.5 million, down by 11.8% from a year earlier.

According to preliminary data, exports in this period amounted to $1 001.3 million. (11.9 %less), while imports amounted to $2,462.2 million. (11.8 %less).

Georgia's negative trade balance in January-April 2020 amounted to $1,460.8 million and accounted for 42.2 %of foreign trade turnover.

Georgia's exports fell by 27.9% in April. According to preliminary data, exports last month amounted to 223.2 million dollars, which is $86.4 million (27.9%) less than in 2019. In total, exports in January-April amounted to $1 billion, which is 11.9% less than the previous year.

In April 2020, Georgia's imports fell by 38.5%, the sharpest drop in imports in recent years. Against the background of limited economic activity, Georgia has purchased a total of $ 458 million worth of products from abroad in the past month, which is $ 286.8 million less than in the same period of 2019. In total, imports in January-April amounted to $ 2.46 billion, which is 11.8% less than in 2019.

At the same time, in January-April, copper ores and concentrates took the first place in the top 10 exports from the commodity groups,the second place is occupied by cars $134.8 million, and on the third - ferroalloys $ 91.8 million. According to Geostat, exports without re-exports (local exports) accounted for 71.2% of total exports. This figure decreased by 2.9 %compared to the same period last year and amounted to $713.0 million.

As for imports, the largest import commodity group in January-April 2020 was represented by cars, whose imports amounted to $186.1 million. The second place was occupied by oil and oil products $171.2 million, while copper ores and concentrates are in the third place with $166.1 mln.

The share of the 10 largest exporting countries in Georgia's total exports amounted to 78.1 %. According to the agency, the first place in the largest export trio is Azerbaijan - $145.2 million, followed by China. Georgia's exports to China increased by 207% to $ 135.5 million in January-April 2020. This is the largest increase in exports in the country since the entry into force of the Free Trade Agreement with China. At the same time, exports decreased by 29.3% in the Russian Federation and amounted to $125.6 million. Due to this reduction, Russia ranked 3rd in the list of exporting countries (in 2019 it was in first place).

At the same time, in the first 4 months of this year, the share of the 10 largest countries in Georgia's total local exports was 80.2 %. In this regard, the largest export partners are China (share in total exports - 18.4%), Russia (15.9%) and Bulgaria (15.6%).

Compared to the same period last year, a large increase in exports was observed in China (260.8%), Spain (275.3%) and Switzerland (48.3%). The decrease in exports was observed in Ukraine (27.2%), Russia (23.3%) and Turkey (22.9%).

It should be noted that last year Georgia's largest export partner was Russia and it accounted for 20% of total exports, while China accounted for only 5% of total exports.

The main local export goods are still copper ores and concentrates. Their share in total exports is 30.2%. In second place is ferroalloys, which account for 12.9% of total local exports.

The volume of exports of ferroalloys decreased by 21.8%. The downward trend was also observed in the export of natural grape wines, its volume decreased by 12.4% compared to the previous year and amounted to $55.4 million.

Deputy Finance Minister Giorgi Kakuridze said at a meeting of the Finance and Budget Committee that exports will probably decrease by 15 to 20% during the year: ”This means that export-oriented companies have reduced their sales, so they need fewer employees to provide the services they used to provide,” he explained, adding that the main goal is to help companies maintain more jobs, even with reduced salaries.

The share of the 10 largest import partner countries in Georgia's total imports amounted to 68.9%. The top 3 include: Turkey - $406.0 million, Russia - $270.1 million and Azerbaijan - $221.8 mln.

Geostat reports that in January-April 2020, the share of the 10 largest trading partners in Georgia's total foreign trade turnover was 70.1 %.

According to Geostat, in April 2020, the price index of industrial producers increased by 1.5% compared to the previous month, and by 10.1% compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

Agency observed a 2.5 %increase in prices compared to the previous month for the manufacturing group of manufacturing industries, and its contribution to the overall index of percentage change in the index was 2.01 %. Among the products in the group, there was a significant increase in prices for beverages, which increased by 3%, for other non-metallic mineral products - 4.5% and for basic metals - a 2.1% increase.

According to Geostat, over the 12 month period, the main influence on the formation of the index was the change in prices for the following products: products of the manufacturing industry, where prices rose by 10.9 %. Prices also rose in the following subgroups : food products - 13.1% increase, beverages - 9.4% , other non-metallic mineral products - 14.3% increase.

In terms of mining and quarrying , there was a 15.5% increase in prices.

Prices for electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning rose 3.7%.