Imports to Sri Lanka up 16-pct; trade gap widens 33-pct in October

Feb 03, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s exports rose 0.9 percent to 855.0 million dollars in October, while imports rose at a faster 16.4 percent to 1,906.2 million dollars from a year earlier, official data showed.

The trade gap widened 32.9 percent to 1,051.1 million US dollars from a year earlier.

The cumulative trade deficit during the first ten months of 2016 increased to 7,234 million dollars from 6,973 million dollars recorded during the same period of 2015.

The increase in expenditure on imports was mainly due to the importation of a dredger vessel by CHEC Port City Colombo, which was categorised under investment goods, the Central Bank said.

“Excluding this, expenditure on imports increased by 5.2 percent, year-on-year, in October 2016,”

Import expenditure on intermediate goods and food and beverages increased by 9.6 percent and 44.1 percent, respectively, while that on other consumer goods decreased by 25.8 percent.

Import expenditure on textiles increased by 35.5 percent and expenditure on crude oil, refined petroleum and coal increased by 4.5 percent, 14.4 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively.

Import expenditure on building material increased by 6.3 percent with import expenditure on cement increasing by 65.5 percent and that on articles of iron and steel decreasing by 29.4 percent.

“Expenditure on road vehicle imports decreased by 13.9 percent, mainly owing to the decrease in auto-trishaw imports despite a substantial increase in import of lorries and agricultural-tractors.”

Tourist arrivals at 150,419 in the month of October 2016 registered a significant yearly growth of 13.7 percent.

India, China, the UK, Germany and France were the top five sources of tourist arrivals in October 2016.

During the first ten months of 2016, the overall BOP is estimated to have recorded a deficit of 273.6 million US dollars, in comparison to a deficit of 2,337.2 million dollars recorded a year ago.

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