Record merchandise imports in 2019

The Cayman Islands imported a record $1.18 billion worth of goods in 2019. The 13.5% increase over the previous year was driven by both non-petroleum and petroleum-related imports, the Economics and Statistics Office reported.

This trend continued in the first quarter of 2020, when the value of imported goods of $288.18 million was 6.8% more than in the same period of 2019.

Last year non-oil-based imports increased by 14.6% to $1.04 billion, following the expansion of all categories.

The growth was especially pronounced for machinery and transport equipment (up 16.6%), including electrical appliances, which increased by $11.8 million (30.9%), and road vehicle imports which were up by $7.4 million (10.7%). Furniture imports were 22.1% higher than in 2018.

The $53 million higher importation of non-monetary gold was another main driver of import growth last year.

Meanwhile, the value of imported food and live animals continued on an upward trend, increasing by 3.6% to $195.0 million over 2018, whereas the higher value of imported beverages was up by $2.4 million or 6.9%.

Importation of materials moved up 9.1%, reflecting higher imports of non-metallic mineral manufactures like cement, cork, wood, iron and steel and paper products.

Petroleum and petroleum-related imports recorded an increase of 5.8% to reach $140.9 million.

The vast majority of Cayman’s imported goods comes from the US (84.4%), followed by the Caribbean (4.9%), the European Union (2.2%) and the UK (1.2%).

Most goods are imported via the port in George Town (69.1%). Less than a quarter (24.1%) is brought in through the airport and about 5.6% are petroleum imports via the oil terminal.

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