Bhutan’s major industries generate Nu 4.89 billion in first quarter of 2024

The ‘major industries’ in Bhutan contributed Nu 4,893.29 Million (M) to the country’s economy during the first quarter of this year. This consisted of Nu 2,468.14M from exports to India, Nu 12.35M from exports to countries other than India (COTI), and Nu 2,412.81M from sales within Bhutan.
The 15 ‘major industries’ reflected under the Royal Monetary Authority’s (RMA) monthly statistical bulletin for June are Army Welfare Project (AWP), Bhutan Agro Industries Ltd. (BAIL), Bhutan Brewery Pvt. Ltd. (BBL), Bhutan Board Products Ltd. (BBPL), Bhutan Ferro Alloys Ltd. (BFAL), Bhutan Fruit Products Ltd. (BFPL), Bhutan Polythene Company Ltd. (BPCL), Bhutan Silicon Metal Pvt. Ltd. (BSMPL), Druk Cement Company Pvt. Ltd. (DCCPL), Druk Ferro Alloys Ltd. (DFAL), Druk Wang Alloys Ltd. (DWAL), Lhaki Steels & Rolling Pvt. Ltd. (LSRPL), Penden Cement Authority Ltd. (PCAL), Saint Gobain Ceramic Materials Bhutan Pvt. Ltd. (SGCMBPL), and Tashi Beverages Ltd. (TBL).
The highest grosser was BBL with Nu 877.65M worth of sales made, followed by BFAL and AWP with Nu 706.87M and Nu 657.06M respectively. Conversely, the lowest contributor was BPCL with Nu 24.45M.
The exported goods mainly composed of Live Animals and Animal Products, Vegetables, Food and Beverages, Mineral and Allied Products, Wood and Articles of Wood, Textiles and Accessories, Metals and Construction Materials.
Meanwhile, Bhutan generated approximately Nu 7.488 billion (B) in revenue during the first quarter of this year from exporting the country’s top ten commodities. This marks a decrease of almost Nu 1.80 billion compared to the same period in 2023. Conversely, Bhutan’s expenditure on importing the top ten commodities stood at Nu 7.43B for the first quarter of this year, a significant decline of Nu 22.6B compared to the first quarter of 2023.
The country’s trade deficit for the first quarter of this year was Nu 15.1B. India remains Bhutan’s top trading partner, with Korea ranking third in exports from Bhutan, and China as the second largest source of imports.
Approximately Nu 7.1B worth of commodities were exported to India in the first three months of this year, with exports to Bangladesh worth about Nu 1.75B. Korea ranked third, importing commodities worth Nu 201M, followed by Nepal (Nu 124M) and Italy (Nu 75M). Bhutan also exported commodities to the Netherlands (Nu 40M), Spain (Nu 13M), Indonesia (Nu 8M), Germany (Nu 2M), and Russia (Nu 2M).
Exports to Bangladesh primarily included citrus fruits (fresh or dried), nutmeg, mace, cardamoms, seeds of anise, badian, fennel, coriander, cumin, caraway, juniper berries, ginger, saffron, turmeric (curcuma), thyme, bay leaves, curry, and other spices. Additionally, exports included vegetables prepared or preserved without vinegar or acetic acid, mixed condiments and seasonings, mustard products, sandstone, basalt, dolomite, and gypsum.
Exports to Nepal included tableware and kitchenware made of wood, gypsum, plasters, pre-shave or after-shave preparations, and ceramic articles.
The Phuentsholing region made the highest exports to India worth Nu 4.026B in commodities, followed by Samtse (Nu 1.4B), Samdrup Jongkhar (Nu 1.357B), and Gelephu (Nu 391M). The total value of commodities exported to India from the main RRCOs (Regional Revenue and Customs Offices) Gelephu, Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar, and Samtse was Nu 1.405B. Commodities worth Nu 2.2B were exported to countries other than India from these same RRCO regions.
The top ten imported commodities for the first quarter of this year were other light oils and preparations (HSD) – Nu 2.7B, motor spirit (Gasoline), including aviation spirit (Petrol) – Nu 954M, other commodities – Nu 725M, semi-milled or wholly milled rice – Nu 709M, smartphones – Nu 613M, coke and semi-coke – Nu 588M.
India was the largest source of imports, with goods worth Nu 20.8B, followed by China at Nu 1.87B. Bhutan also imported goods from Thailand (Nu 289M) and Singapore (Nu 212M).
Most imports from India were through the Phuentsholing region (Nu 14.4B), followed by Samdrup Jongkhar (Nu 2.58B), Gelephu (Nu 1.86B), and Samtse (Nu 1.66B). In total, Nu 20.8B worth of commodities were imported from India through the regions of Phuentsholing, Gelephu, Samdrup Jongkhar, Samtse, Thimphu, and Paro. Similarly, Nu 3.727B worth of commodities was imported from COTI through these RRCO regions.
Bhutan’s trade deficit for the first quarter of this year stands at Nu 5.68B. A trade deficit occurs when the value of imports exceeds the value of exports.

By Tashi Namgyal, Thimphu