Sri Lanka exports up 16.7-pct in September, trade gap widens

Dec 01, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s exports rose 16.7 percent to 662.9 million US dollars in September 2010, helped by higher commodity prices and a surge in apparel exports while imports grew at a faster 35.9 percent widening the trade gap, Central Bank data showed. “While earnings from garment exports to the EU increased by 1.5 per cent, garment exports to the USA grew by 13.4 percent,” the Central Bank said.

“Earnings from agricultural exports also increased recording a healthy growth in all key sub-categories due to increases in both, volumes and prices.”

The average price of tea was 4.31 US dollar per kilogram while rubber prices had risen 62.9 percent to 3.08 dollar per kilo.

The central bank said export to the EU has increased despite the loss of preferential trade benefits in August, while exports to the US had grown.

Imports grew 35.9 percent to 1,092 million US dollars. The central bank said 54 percent of non-food consumer goods was motor vehicles. Car imports surged after the state cut massive import duties.

Earlier only state workers who get tax slashed cars and lawmakers and other rulers who get tax free cars had the liberty to buy cars due to a discriminatory and oppressive tax system.

The oil bill rose 85.3 percent to 2