(Business in Cameroon) - In 2018, CEMAC's trade balance is forecasted to surge to 20.8%, up from the CFA5,036.5 billion initial estimate and the CFA4,183.7 billion in 2017. According to the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), the improvement results from a combined increase in barrel prices and crude oil exports, which would offset the higher imports (CFA9,654.3 billion in 2018 compared to CFA8,892.7 billion in 2017).
The bank said the increase in exports is driven by higher sales of crude oil (+18.4%, to CFA9,883.6 billion), manganese (+2.5%, to CFA619.3 billion) and cocoa (+31.3%, to CFA286.3 billion). However, other products will record an export decline. These include methanol and other gases (-6.8%, to CFA847.2 billion), timber (-1.2%, to CFA872.4 billion), coffee (-11.7%, to CFA21.8 billion) and cotton (-16.6%, to CFA135.5 billion).
Meanwhile, import growth will stem from the recovery in capital expenditure, mainly in the oil sector, in Equatorial Guinea, Congo and Chad, notably.