Mauritius

May 28, 2013

Export: Identification of Alternative Markets Will Determine the Future

Apprehensive about the performance in the short and medium term because of the crisis in Europe

The export sector (companies of the former free zone and that of seafood combined) is adapted as well as possible until the crisis in the eurozone but concerns about its performance in the short to medium term remain due to the persistence of the crisis. "The future of the export industry depends on our effectiveness in identifying alternative markets for our goods and services," wrote the Mauritius Export Association (MEXA) in a document entitled "Export Made Clear" and in which the Association dissects the performance of the sector during the first quarter of 2013.

The MEXA observes at the outset that the export sector is an important pillar of the Mauritian economy with a contribution of 6.2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and generating 55,000 direct jobs and

150,000 indirect jobs. Sector exports over the period January to March 2013 there was only a nominal increase of 1.2% to Rs 11.1 billion. This performance is attributed to an increase in exports to the U.S. market and a weak recovery in the European market. Exports to traditional markets have been growing. They rose 1.3% in the UK market, one of the main markets in Europe, 28.5% and 99.7% on the German and Dutch markets respectively. The sharp increase noted on the market in the Netherlands is explained by increased exports (177% to Rs 394 million) exports of seafood

In the region, South Africa and Madagascar showed increases of 3.9% and 2.3% respectively, illustrating, according to MEXA, diversification of our exports while strengthening the strategy adopted by the operators to turn more to regional markets.

Analyzing the performance product, MEXA notes that exports of clothing fell 1.9% in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period of 2012. Regarding export of pullovers, growth was recorded and who believe the big operators, is largely due to the winter season extended in Europe. The European Union (60%) and South Africa (20%) have the largest market share, the U.S. and Australia to ensure the balance. " The operators state that there is huge potential to further diversify to the US markets. However, logistics and lead time remains the main stumbling point ", said the MEXA.

Regarding exports of shirts, a decrease of approximately 20% was observed over the period January-March 2013. Longer present on the European market, exporters are noted a decline compared to the South African market. Unlike sweaters, demand for t-shirts on the European market declined. However, the industry welcomes the fact that South Africa (30%) is now a part of growing importance in exports T-shirts against 50% in the European market. Exports to the U.S. market are considered "insignificant" because of the presence of strong competitors such as China and Bangladesh.

Speaking of exports fabrics, MEXA is a slight recovery in the first quarter of 2013 (1.4% to Rs 641 million), orders from the U.S. market is more interesting than those from European buyers. The MEXA also notes that the trade agreements with Turkey and Pakistan give a boost to exports of fabrics. Regarding other products cleverly, pants and shirts specifically, data from the first quarter of 2013 show an increase in exports. The American and South African markets show good performance.

Other sub-sector maintained its growth: that of seafood. The first two months of the year were marked by increasing exports by 12%. " The allocation of the automatic derogation (tuna) in January 2013 highly contributed to this increase since it enabled the sourcing of additional non-originating fish," says MEXA. The European Union (Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in particular) is the main market. But note that the MEXA export growth in the first quarter amounted to only 6%, a performance that hide an increase in prices of raw materials and a reduction in the supply of seafood companies local processing.

Reviewing the performance of the jewelery sector, the MEXA observes that despite the volatility in commodity prices (gold, silver and diamond), an increase of about 10% of exports to report for January and February 2013. The European Union remains the largest market for local manufacturers but the latter indicates the MEXA, experience more difficulty in retaining their customers. " This is mainly because Mauritius produces more of the milieu de gamme products whilst there is more demand for the haut de Gamme luxury products

" Looking ahead, although the major risks to the global stance has somewhat lessened from earlier crisis, our key export markets, particularly in Europe, continue to be marked by vulnerability and uncertainty. Thus, apprehensions over the short to medium term performance of the export sector still remain "indicates the MEXA. For the latter, market diversification is crucial and positioning Mauritius as respected goods and services provider in the region will be a key element for the future of the export sector.

Text by Le Mauricien
 

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