Sri Lanka external trade shrinks

April 20, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s external trade contracted sharply in February 2009 with the trade gap narrowing 75.5 percent, imports plunging 37.3 percent, exports falling 18.4 percent and remittances also easing 3.8 percent, the Central Bank said. Exports fell to 524.3 million US dollars from 642.6 million US dollars, with tea falling 33.4 percent to 72.3 million, suffering from a burst commodity bubble.

Exports of coconuts had increased in February 2009.

Industrial exports fell 13.4 percent to 407.7 million US dollars but textiles and garment exports increased 7.0 percent to 275.1 million.

“Textiles and garments exports to the European Union and the United States have increased by 15.4 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively, in February 2009,” the central bank said.

Imports fell to 601.8 million US dollars from 959.8 million US dollars with petroleum imports falling 42.9 percent to 95.5 million.

Investment goods fell 31.2 percent to 239.6 million US dollars.

The trade deficit plunged to 77.6 million US dollars from 317.2 million US dollars.

In the first two months of the year, exports were down 15.2 percent at 1,015.4 million Us dollars, imports were down 40.2 percent at 1,277.0 million US dollars and the tra