Mauritius Trade Gap to Widen in 2012 as Exports Slows

Mauritius said its 2012 trade gap will probably widen as exports slow.

The deficit is forecast to reach 92 billion rupees ($3.2 billion), up from 72.2 billion rupees in 2011, the Port Louis-based Statistics Mauritius said on its website today. Imports will jump 16 percent to 172 billion rupees and exports will rise 5.4 percent to 80 billion rupees, it said.

Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island nation with a population of about 1.3 million people, is a net importer of food and fuels. India is the largest supplier, with Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemical Ltd providing all its fuel.

Exports to Europe, which account for 62 percent of the total, rose 2.7 percent to 40.4 billion rupees in 2011 and declined 10 percent in the fourth quarter, the agency said.

The rupee has gained 1.9 percent against the dollar, the main currency for its imports bills. Against the euro, it has weakened 1.4 percent.