Since the country cannot supply enough food and clothing for its own people, imports remain high, while export revenues vary according to world agricultural prices. There is also an outflow of remittances for workers employed under contract from abroad.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2000 the purchasing power parity of São Tomé and Príncipe's exports was $4.1 million while imports totaled $40 million resulting in a trade deficit of $35.9 million.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that in 2001 São Tomé and Príncipe had exports of goods totaling $3 million and imports totaling $24 million. The services credit totaled $14 million and debit $15 million. The following table summarizes São Tomé and Príncipe's balance of payments as reported by the IMF for 2001 in millions of US dollars.
|Balance on goods||-21|
|Balance on services||-2|
|Balance on income||-4|
|Direct investment abroad||…|
|Direct investment in São Tomé and Príncipe||6|
|Portfolio investment assets||…|
|Portfolio investment liabilities||…|
|Other investment assets||…|
|Other investment liabilities||3|
|Net Errors and Omissions||4|
|Reserves and Related Items||-3|