KIGALI, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda's trade deficit increased by 27.7 percent in the first half of 2019, compared to the same period of 2018, the central bank said on Thursday.
The trade deficit settled at 767.92 million U.S. dollars in the first half of 2019, compared to 601.4 million U.S. dollars in the same period last year, the central bank governor John Rwangombwa said, while presenting the bank's second Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Statement of 2019 in the capital city of Kigali.
Increased imports bill was attributed to domestic demand for intermediate and capital goods due to ongoing investments, according to the governor.
According to him, in the first half of 2019, imports bill rose by 18.2 percent to 1,338.7 million U.S. dollars.
Due to the relatively high import bill, relative to December 2018, the Rwandan franc depreciated by 2.2 percent against the USD by the end of June, higher than a depreciation of 1.7 percent registered in the same period of 2018, he added.
Rwangombwa also said Rwanda's total exports receipts increased by 7.5 percent to 577.8 million U.S. dollars in the first half of 2019 compared to 537.3 million dollars in the first half of 2018, while its volume increased by 58.1 percent.
In line with the made-in-Rwanda program, there is growing share of non-traditional exports mainly driven by increased domestic production of milling industry, flowers, other minerals, cement, mattresses, milk products, textiles, as well as iron and steel, said the governor.
Rwanda has been experiencing strong economic growth since the second half of 2017, with an average real GDP rate of 8.8 percent, he added.