Mauritius’s current account deficit dips by 12.3% to Rs 5938 mn in Q1 2015
Mauritius’ preliminary estimates for Balance of Payments showed a lower current account deficit for the first quarter of 2015, as exports rose by a higher 14.1% compared to 8% growth in imports of goods, while for the inflation expectations survey, a majority of respondents expect inflation at below 4.5% for Dec 2015.
The Bank of Mauritius released preliminary estimates of Mauritius’ balance of payments data for the first quarter of 2015, which showed a current account deficit of Rs 5,938 million, lower than the Rs6,766 million estimated for the first quarter of 2014.
Merchandise trade deficit improved marginally to Rs 13,405 million in 2015, from Rs 13,571 million in 2014.
Exports of goods rose by 14.1% year-on-year while imports of goods grew at a lower pace of 8.0%. It may be noted that the rise in exports was driven by increase in “Ships’ stores and bunkers”, which recorded double-digit growth of 20.5%, driven mainly by re-exports of “Telecommunication equipment & accessories.”
As for imports, the rise reflected higher purchases of “Machinery and equipment” and “Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material”.
Besides the narrowing of merchandise trade deficit, the services and income accounts are estimated to have generated surpluses in 2015. The services account is estimated at a positive Rs 5,301 million, compared to Rs 5,375 million in 2014 while the surplus on the income account is estimated at Rs 4,012 million, compared to Rs 3,620 million in 2014. Finally, the deficit on the current transfers account also narrowed to Rs 1,846 million, compared to Rs 2,190 million in 2014.
Direct investment in Mauritius recorded net inflows of Rs 75,664 million, while direct investment abroad registered net outflows of Rs 59,087 million. Meanwhile, portfolio investment posted net outflows of Rs 4,935 million, while the ‘Other investment’ account recorded net outflows of Rs 3,703 million.
Also, exclusive of cross-border transactions of GBC1s, non-residents’ direct investment in Mauritius, net of repatriation, registered higher net inflows of Rs 2,118 million in 2015 compared to net inflows of Rs 1,583 million in 2014.
Including estimates for cross-border transactions of GBC1s, the gross official international reserves of the country, on a BoP basis and exclusive of valuation change, rose a further Rs 4,455 million in 2015, compared to an overall BOP surplus of Rs 6,090 million in 2015.
Besides, the BOM released its 27th inflation expected survey with 50 stakeholders randomly chosen from the financial and real sectors of the economy. As many as 48 of the selected 50 respondents provided responses to the survey and the findings are thus based on the 48 responses received.
A majority of Mauritian respondents expect inflation to be less than 4.5% for December 2015, according to the survey by the central bank.
Regarding the 2.2% headline inflation rate for the month of April 2015, a majority of the respondents perceived this rate as being appropriate, 41.6% considered it to be low and 4.2% of the respondents found this rate to be high.
Finally, as regards a year down the line, a majority of respondents expect inflation to be less than 4.5%, 18% of respondents were expecting inflation to range from 4.5%-6.5%, and 5% of the respondents were expecting inflation to be beyond 6.5%.