Oil, fertiliser and fabric swelled Sri Lanka’s import bill by 10%

Oil, fertiliser and fabric swelled Sri Lanka’s import bill by 9.9 percent to US$ 1.2 bn in the first two months this year, with much of the growth – US$ 200 mn, spent on petroleum imports. Oil, fertiliser and fabric swelled Sri Lanka’s import bill by 9.9 percent to US$ 1.2 bn in the first two months this year, with much of the growth – US$ 200 mn, spent on petroleum imports. The Central Bank said on Wednesday that petroleum imports were up 20 percent for the first two months this year, and 19.2 percent or US$ 105 mn in February alone, over last year.

Higher crude costs could take the petroleum import bill soaring to near 2004 levels of US$ 1.2 bn this year, with the Treasury threatening to raise prices at the pump to partly lift heavy subsidies and ease the burden.

The spend on textiles, which are 17 percent of total imports, went up 6.3 percent to US$ 199 mn in January and February from US$ 187 mn, as manufacturers filled up for orders already booked last year.

In February this year alone, the textile imports went up almost 33 percent to US$ 97 mn. Apparel also dominated export growth, which clocked in 19.8 percent to US$ 1 bn in the first two months over the US$ 850 mn in 20