Jordan's trade deficit widened 34.2 per cent to 3.24 billion dinars ($4.56bn) in the first quarter of this year against the same period in 2011, due to a higher bill for imported Saudi oil and other petroleum products, official data showed on Wednesday.
Import costs rose 19.5 per cent in January-April from a year earlier to 5.064 billion while exports fell a slight 0.1 per cent to 1.825 billion dinars in the same period compared with the previous year, data from the Department of Statistics showed.
Jordan, which imports most of its energy from Saudi Arabia, saw its crude oil and petroleum products import bill in the first quarter of the year surge 63.7 per cent from the same period last year to 1.81 billion dinars,according to the data.
Energy imports were almost 35.8 per cent of total imports, the data showed.
The burden of imported fuel costs has risen after the loss of regular cheap Egyptian gas supplies that previously covered nearly 80 per cent of Jordan's electricity generation which forced the authorities to switch to more expensive fuel oil to run power plants.
A chronic trade deficit and spiralling budget deficit have for years been among the biggest concerns for Jordanian economic policy makers.