Until April, Cuba’s trade deficit was three times its exports

Havana, May 14 (EFE) .- Cuba’s trade deficit between January and April was three times higher than its exports in that period, reported this Saturday the Cuban Minister of Economy and Planning, Alejandro Gil.

Speaking before the National Assembly (Parliament, unicameral), he indicated that in the first four months of the year, exports of goods amounted to 590 million dollars, while imports accounted for 2,397 million dollars.

The island’s trade deficit, therefore, stood at 1,807 million dollars, slightly more than three times the total volume of exports in that period.

«Many of the products that the country imports today have increased their sale prices in the international market, as is the case with oil and food,» explained the Cuban deputy prime minister, according to the official newspaper Granma.

This means that «even when imports are greater, it is not equivalent to the physical growth of imported goods. There is imported inflation, a growth in the prices of products that does not depend on us,» he added.

Gil also reported that 411 state-owned companies registered losses between January and April, which represents about 25% of the total number of publicly owned business entities.

The minister assured that «the recovery of the country’s economy is a process full of challenges that faces the growth of prices in the international market and its own internal contradictions, the existence of an informal exchange market, and other complexities.»

Among the factors that affect the economic «recovery,» he mentioned the availability of fuel and foreign exchange, the rise in food import prices, the deterioration of the purchasing power of wages due to inflation and macroeconomic imbalances.

Likewise, he referred to the development in different exchange environments for the state and non-state sector. While the official fixed exchange rate is 24 Cuban pesos (cup) for one dollar, in the informal market the greenback is currently exchanged for more than 110 cup.

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Nevertheless, Gil showed cautious optimism. He assured that Cuba is «recovering part of the ground lost in recent years, after a 13% drop in GDP» (gross domestic product).

«The results achieved at the beginning of 2022 indicate that we are going in that direction,» he said, referring to a slow recovery.

(c) EFE Agency