El Salvador’s ICT exports up nearly 10% in May

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By LatAm Reports Staff Writers

Guatemala and Nicaragua are the main buyers of El Salvador’s technology goods.

Exports of information and communication technology (ICT) goods in El Salvador grew by 9.8 per cent in the first five months of 2024, according to the Central Reserve Bank (BCR).

The value of ICT exports is still minuscule compared to other strong sectors of the economy, with a cumulative amount of $12.19 million between January and May last, equivalent to an increase of $1.9 million from $11.09 million in the same period of 2023.

This figure includes items such as computers and peripheral equipment (hardware to connect such as USB, mouse or hearing aids), as well as communication devices (telephones) and consumer electronic equipment (microphones or antennas for radios and televisions).

It also includes electronic and miscellaneous components (semiconductors and non-storage devices).

According to the BCR, Guatemala is the main destination for exports of ICT goods, with a participation of 28 per cent last May, followed by Nicaragua with 21.5 per cent. Similarly, there are shipments to Honduras, the United States, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Peru and Hong Kong.

Balance in favour of imports

The Central Bank documents that imports of ICT goods are 17.2 times higher than exports, largely explained because the Salvadoran industry is not an innate manufacturer of computers or phones, but is brought from the external market.

As of May, $210.4 million was imported, an amount that represented a reduction of $38.06 million (15.31 percent) from the same period of 2023.

China is the big supplier of these items, with a 60.7% stake. Then there is Mexico, the United States, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, France and the Philippines.

The BCR notes that the largest exports are made up of miscellaneous, at $7.09 million May, followed by communication equipment with $1.87 million. In imports, computers add up to $87.7 million and consumer electronics ($53.4 million).

The data

Phone imports reached $159.8 million between January and May, an increase of $2.1 million over the same period in 2023. According to the BCR, cell phones are the fifth most purchased product by Salvadorans.

This article has been translated after first appearing in Diario El Mundo