Balancing Act

Sri Lankas trade deficit for March expanded marginally, as the countrys import bill galloped ahead of export earnings, the Central Bank said Wednesday.
Trade deficit for March grew US$ 70 mn to US$ 223 mn in 2004, as foreign inflows from tourism, ports, private transfers and net inflows of portfolio investments eased the pressure on the rupee.rn

rnHigher import bill also helped widen the deficit for the first quarter of this year to US$ 465 mn, over US$ 129 mn reported in the same period 2003.rn

rnEXPORTSrn

rnRevenues from exports jumped 21 percent to US$ 515 mn in March, which helped pushed cumulative earnings up by 14 percent to US$ 1,365 mn for the first quarter of 2004.rn

rnThe key textile and apparel sector brought in the bacon growing 14 percent to US$ 239 mn over the corresponding period 2003.rn

rnldblquote This was an outcome of increases in both export volumes and unit prices,
dblquote the Bank said.rn

rnRevenues from the Agriculture sector jumped 29 percent, largely aided