Sri Lanka exports fell 12-pct in May; trade gap widens 16-pct

Aug 09, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s exports fell 12 percent to 776.3 million US dollars in May 2016, while imports rose 0.3 percent to 1,589.8 million US dollars from a year earlier, official data showed.

The trade gap has widened 15.7 percent to 813.5 million US dollars from a year earlier.

The subdued performance in tea exports, rubber products and textiles and garments contributed mainly to the overall decline in export earnings, the Central Bank said.

Average export price of tea has decreased by 5.3 percent to 4.24 US dollars per kilogram owing to lower demand from the Middle East and Russia while export volume also declined by 23.0 percent to 21.26 million kilograms.

Cumulative earnings from exports during the first five months of 2016 contracted by 6.0 percent to 4,211 million US dollars largely due to a reduction in export earnings from transport equipment, petroleum products, tea and spices.

The leading markets for merchandise exports of Sri Lanka during the first five months of 2016 were the USA, UK, India, Germany and Italy, accounting for about 54 percent of the total exports.

Expenditure on imports grew marginally in May largely contributed by the significant increase registered in import expenditure on investment goods, despite the decline recorded in consumer goods and intermediate goods imports.

On a cumulative basis, expenditure on imports during the first five months of 2016 contracted by 2.8 percent to 7,645 million US dollars, mainly due to the declines recorded in fuel, transport equipment and rice imports.

China, India, Japan, Singapore and UAE were the main import origins during the first five months of 2016, which accounted for about 56 percent of total imports.

During the first five months of 2016, the overall BOP is estimated to have recorded a deficit of 1,142.3 million US dollars in comparison to a deficit of 1,307.4 million US dollars recorded during the corresponding period of 2015.