With lower oil prices, Cayman imports more gas, cars

Cayman imported more cars and more gasoline to fuel them in 2015 amid sharp declines in oil prices, according to a new report from the Economics and Statistics Office.

The ESO’s annual Foreign Trade report notes that the value of total imports dropped by almost $50 million between 2014 and 2015, led by lower gas prices.

Finance Minister Marco Archer said in a written statement, “The decline in the value of imports in 2015 reflects the fall in oil prices in the international market.

“Local demand continued to strengthen as shown by a 7 percent increase in the volume of fuel imports from [49.5 million] imperial gallons in 2014 to [53 million] imperial gallons in 2015.”

The total value of fuel imports dropped by almost 40 percent to about $100 million.

Imports not including petroleum products increased by 2 percent to more than $660 million from 2014 to 2015.

The ESO said in a statement, “Among the non-petroleum products, machinery and transport equipment imports grew by 16.0 percent, traced to higher values of motors and generators, construction and mining machinery, office machines and automatic data equipment.”

The price of fuel has also meant a drop in the total imports from the United States. The report notes that the U.S. “continues to be the dominant trading partner of the Cayman Islands accounting for 85.3 percent of total imports with a value of CI$650.7 million in 2015, compared to CI$746.9 million in 2014, a 12.9 percent decline.”

Imports from Cuba, Korea and the United Kingdom also decreased. The biggest import increases from Cayman’s trading partners in 2015 were Jamaica, with a 21 percent jump, and an increase of almost 68 percent from Japan, which, according to the report, “may be associated with the increase in road vehicle imports.”

Exports fell from almost $22 million in 2014 to about $17 million in 2015.

Citing the “sharp decline,” the ESO report noted fewer re-exports, including exports when people leave the island and send their household goods abroad, which account for more than 70 percent of all exports.