(Updates with comment from economist in fourth paragraph.)
Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Mauritius lowered its forecast for this year’s trade deficit to 79 billion rupees ($2.8 billion), the Central Statistics Office said, as the currency’s strength curbs import bills and exports of textiles increase.
The shortfall was revised from an initial forecast of 83 billion rupees, the Port Louis-based office said in a statement today on its website. The trade gap rose 6.1 percent to 33.3 billion rupees in the first half from a year earlier, it said.
Exports climbed 15 percent to 36.2 billion rupees in the first half while imports rose 11 percent to 69.5 billion rupees. About 67 percent of imports bills are dollar-denominated and 41 percent of exports are euro-denominated.
“The improved forecast can be attributed to a stronger rupee for the first semester,” Swadicq Nuthay, an economist at Axys Capital Management Ltd., said by telephone from Port Louis, the capital. “Exports have increased in rupee terms, indicating that textile and apparel manufacturers still have positive momentum.”
The rupee strengthened 9.3 percent versus the dollar in the first half and 1.6 percent against the euro, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It weakened by 0.7 percent to 27.95 per dollar at 1:50 p.m. in Port Louis.
Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island nation with a population of 1.3 million, is a net buyer of fuels and food. Sales of textiles surged almost 18 percent to 12.5 billion rupees in the first half, the statistics office said.
Europe, led by the U.K., buys 65 percent of Mauritius’s manufactured goods, the statistics office said. India is the country’s largest trade partner by imports, accounting for 26 percent of bills, as Mauritius buys all of its fuel requirements from Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd.
--Editors: Jennifer M. Freedman, Eddie Buckle
To contact the reporter on this story: Kamlesh Bhuckory in Port Louis, Mauritius, via Johannesburg at firstname.lastname@example.org
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