Asian markets strengthen Mauritius export earnings By LINLEY BIGNOUX in Port Louis | Friday, August 16  2013 at  16:54

Textiles. The industry was among Mauritius' strongest performing exports. FILE 

Mauritian exporters have recorded strong sales in the first six months of the year due to a strong performance in new markets, especially India and China.

Exports increased from $724.6 million to $740.7 million in the period, latest data from the country's Ministry of Finance showed.

The textile and jewellery industries chalked up the strongest growth, while other sectors of the economy showed more modest growth.

Textiles gained 17 per cent over the comparable period of last year, while trade in jewellery and precious stones rose 8.4 per cent.

Sugar cane exports gained 28 per cent growth while fish exports recorded 17.5 per cent as the island cements its status as an emerging seafood hub.

Sales to the traditional markets of France and the United Kingdom were sluggish over the period.

Even so, the European Union and South Africa are the country's two largest export markets.

According to Ministry of Finance analysts, fortifying Mauritian presence in South Africa and the American market--especially under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act will further strengthen exports.

Trade figures also indicated a 10 per cent growth in gold, silver and diamond exports in January and February despite the volatility of global commodity prices.

The European Union was the principal jewellery market.

Currently, over 60 per cent of Mauritian exports are destined for France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

The county's trade deficit is expected to reach $2.99 billion by the end of the year.

Due to the economic downturn in Europe, local businesses that export to those markets have veered to other markets in Africa and Asia in search of more opportunities.