Feb 19, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s total exports in December 2008 fell 19.1 percent to 681 million dollars from a year ago, dragged down by a sharp fall in its main product tea, as well as garments, the central bank said. “The performance of agricultural and industrial exports appears to have been affected by the adverse global economic circumstances,” it said in a statement on the island’s trade performance.
Total imports fell 9.7 percent to 1,049 million dollars in December with petroleum imports down 38.4 percent.
“The low import growth witnessed during the last two months is expected to prevail throughout a greater part of 2009,” the statement said.
The island’s trade deficit increased by 15.1 percent to 368 million US dollars in December 2008.
Cumulative earnings from exports during the year (January December 2008) grew 6.5 percent to 8,137 million US dollars compared with the year before.
Total spending on imports during the year rose 24 percent to 14,008 million US dollars from the previous year.
As a result, the deficit in the trade balance increased to 5,871 million US dollars during 2008, compared to the deficit of 3,656 million US dollars the previous year.