TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s foreign trade turnover experienced a sharp downward trend at the end of 2012, according to precise data from Georgian National Statistics Department, GeoStat.
Although it is mostly the month of December which shows an alarming tendency, there is a clear trend since after October, when Bidzina Ivanishvili formed a new government following a surprise victory in the parliamentary election.
GeoStat’s report shows that in terms of export, the indicator continued a previous growth trend at 16.2 percent in October, but in November it went below zero to -2.3 percent and then saw a deep fall to -21.5 percent in December.
In terms of import there was a slight growth, 6.8 percent, in October, then it fell -4.5 percent in November and -8.6 percent in December.
On the whole, the data for foreign trade turnover for the whole year exhibit relatively strong results, with an overall increase of 11 percent compared to 2011 and totaled USD 10 220 million. Out of this, export was USD 2 377 million — 9 percent more than in 2011 — and import was USD 7 842 million – 11 percent more than in the preceding year.
The trade deficit continued to grow. In 2012, it was USD 5 465 million, which is 53 percent of the foreign trade turnover.
As such, it carried on a trend since 2009, when it totaled USD 3 367 million, in 2010 it was USD 3 580 million and in 2011 – USD 4 869 million.
Georgia’s top ten trading partners in 2012 were Turkey – 15 percent, Azerbaijan – 12.3 percent, Ukraine – 7.5 percent followed by China, Germany, Russia, US, Bulgaria, Armenia and Italy.
Used cars still held the top place on the list of Georgia’s most exported products and accounted for 24.7 percent, while ferroalloys were 11 percent of all export, followed by nitrogenous fertilizers with 5.8 percent.
12.1 percent of the import was oil and oil products; 8.5 percent was cars and 3.2 percent petroleum gases and other gaseous hydrocarbons.
Vano Merabishvili, Secretary General of the former ruling party recently said there is an alarming situation in Georgia’s foreign trade and economy in general. He said that if there had been such a situation while the National Movement was in government, the whole government apparatus would be in emergency mode.
The ex prime minister today wrote on his Facebook page that the latest trade figures from GeoStat confirm what he said.
The government should “switch to emergency mode”, he writes, and take appropriate measures to resolve the problem, to avoid a budget crisis.
The Ivanishvili government has not yet commented.