Agricultural exports dropped 10.1 percent to 203.2 million US dollars with tea dropping 6.3 percent to 123.4 million US dollars.
Import grew by just 3.9 percent to 1,697 million US dollars with consumer goods dropping 4.7 percent to 334.4 million US dollars.
Intermediate goods dropped 0.5 percent to 966.1 million US dollars but investment goods rose 28.7 percent to 395.3 million US dollars.
The trade deficit grew 22.5 percent to 861.3 million US dollars.
In the first quarter exports fell 1.4 percent to 2,633.7 million US dollars and imports grew 17.0 percent to 5,192.6 million US dollars and the trade gap also increased 44.8 percent to 2,558.9 million US dollars.The trade gap is an arbitrary man-made definition that refers to only merchandise goods trade in the balance of payments.
Sri Lanka has a large trade deficit because the spending power in the country is boosted by exports of items other than merchandize trade goods.
These include exports of labour (1,492 million US dollar in the first quarter), exports of government debt (government borrowing of 1.162 million US dollars) and exports of services to tourist (268.3 million US dollars).
Sri Lanka's rupee fell steeply in March mainly from the pent up pressure of rupees injected to the banking system to sterilize forex sales which fires unsustainable credit and demand.
The rupee has continued to come under pressure in subsequent months partly due to sterilized sales of foreign exchange for oil payments and also from unsterilized foreign exchange purchases, which built up rupee liquidity and fired credit.