Mauritius’s current account deficit widened in the first quarter as the country’s import bills rose.
The gap reached $146 million for the three months through March, from $141 million a year earlier, the Port Louis-based Bank of Mauritius said in a statement on its website today. As a percentage of gross domestic product, the deficit declined to 5.1 percent from 5.5 percent in the prior period, it said.
Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island nation with a population of about 1.3 million, is facing a “structural imbalance” between imports and exports, according to central bank Governor Rundheersing Bheenick. As much as 60 percent of imports are denominated in dollars, while the euro is the country’s main foreign currency income.
The trade deficit widened 15 percent from a year earlier to $591 million, the central bank said. Imports increased 7.6 percent while exports grew 2 percent.
The rupee has weakened 2 percent this year against the dollar. It traded 0.2 percent lower at 29.95 a dollar by 1:45 p.m. local time. Against the euro, it has strengthened 1.8 percent this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kamlesh Bhuckory in Port Louis at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at email@example.com