MANAGUA, Nicaragua –The Nicaraguan government's Export Processing Center (CETREX) reported that the value of Nicaragua's exports increased by 32.6 percent in the first seven months of 2010 in relation with the same period last year.
Nicaragua's foreign sales from January to July of this year totaled $1.16 billion, compared with 871.8 million registered in the same period in 2009, CETREX said in a preliminary report.
In addition, the agency reported a 25 percent increase in export volume during the first seven months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009.
The volume of exports totaled 1,064,227.5 metric tons between January and July of this year, while during the same period of 2009 they were 850,680.7 metric tons, the center said.
CETREX noted that the increase in cultivated land and the rise in international prices of some traditional products such as sugar cane, gold, coffee, beef and petroleum derivatives are responsible for export growth in the first seven months of the year.
Nicaragua's foreign sales during 2009 amounted to $1.4 million, 6.39 percent less than that recorded in 2008, when export sales reached $1.5 billion, according to official figures.
The institution explained that the United States remains the main destination of Nicaraguan exports, followed by Venezuela, which pushed El Salvador to third place.
Combined, the three countries buy more than half of Nicaraguan products.
CETREX said coffee beans continue to be Nicaragua's main export product, followed by beef.
Coffee beans produced foreign exchange earnings of $261.3 million between January and July of this year, 55 percent more than the $168.3 million recorded for the same period in 2009, due to increased production and better prices.
Beef exports totaled $168.2 million in sales abroad in the first seven months of this year, versus the $124.8 million sold during the same period of 2009, for a 35 percent increase.
For 2010, Nicaragua expects an economic growth rate of between 2.6 and 3.1 percent with an inflation rate of between 5 and 7 percent.
The Central American country had a decrease of gross domestic product in 2009 of 1.5 percent and an inflation rate of 0.93 percent, according to official figures.