Import bill gallops ahead as fuel prices eats gains from textile and apparel exports

Sri Lanka’s import bill raced ahead of export earnings in July, as a hefty fuel bill erased gains from apparel and tea revenues, the Central Bank said Friday. Sri Lanka’s import bill raced ahead of export earnings in July, as a hefty fuel bill erased gains from apparel and tea revenues, the Central Bank said Friday. Exports rose 2.5 percent to US$ 506 mn in July over the same period a year earlier, while imports shot up 7.8 percent to US$ 664 mn during the period under review.

Cumulative figures from Jan-Jul put export earnings up 8.4 percent to US$ 3,112 mn year on year, while the import bill picked up 19 percent to US$ 4,396 mn.

This pushed resort island’s trade deficit up by 56 percent to US$ 1.28 bn from US$ 823.3 mn, the bank said.

The textile and apparel sector dominated export earnings, growing seven percent to US$ 268 mn in July.

Tea, Sri Lanka’s second largest money spinner, posted a modest two percent growth of US$ 62 mn in July. The average price nudged up to US$ 2.32 per kilo, but export volumes fell three percent to 27 mn kilos, the statement said.

Petroleum, which accounts for 49 percent of overall monthly import bill,