The total value of goods imported by Cayman residents increased 2.1 percent to $774.5 million last year.
“This is the highest level of imports recorded since 2009,” said Marco Archer, minister for Finance and Economic Development. Imports were higher only between 2005 and 2008 in the years following Hurricane Ivan until the financial crisis.
“In addition to higher fuel imports, there were significant increases in capital goods and industrial supplies which are vital to economic growth,” Mr. Archer said.
According to Port Authority statistics, the quantity of diesel imports rose by 6.5 percent in 2013, and motor gas jumped 8.5 percent, while the quantity of jet fuel imports declined by 4 percent. Coupled with price increases in all three petroleum product categories, imports of petroleum products, which constitute just over a fifth of all imports, increased 10.5 percent in dollar terms.
Capital goods were higher by 9 percent, and imports of industrial supplies went up 6.6 percent, reflecting the rise in construction activity in 2013, according to the Foreign Trade Report 2013 released by the Economics and Statistics Office.
However, the total value of non-petroleum imports was not significantly different than in 2012.
Food and live animals, miscellaneous manufactured articles and machinery and transport equipment trailed petroleum products as the largest groups of imported goods.
Food and live animal imports were 8.3 percent higher, and imports of chemical products were up 4.2 percent. Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere saw an 11.2 percent decrease, as sharp declines were recorded in particular for gold and for postal packages.
The U.S. remained the main trading partner of the Cayman Islands, accounting for 92.3 percent of total imports with a value of $714 million in 2013.
Imports from Jamaica fell by 17.6 percent, and U.K. imports dropped by 47.9 percent. Imports from Cuba fell by 54.9 percent as a result of a decline in cigar imports, while imports from Japan dropped 44.2 percent due to fewer motor vehicle imports compared to 2012.
In 2013, total exports from the Cayman Islands increased 49.2 percent to $25.3 million. However, the nearly 90 percent of exports represent largely re-exports of personal effects, and the return of aviation equipment and parts that were imported in previous periods, according to the report.