March 18, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s trade deficit contracted by 66.5 percent in January 2009 from a year ago to 208 million US dollars as exports and imports fell sharply, the central bank said. Private remittances also fell, largely owing to the strength of the dollar, it said, but exports of apparel, a key industry, increased.
Total exports fell 11.6 percent to 491 million dollars in January 2009 mainly because of lower agricultural export earnings, the bank said in a statement on the island’s trade performance.
Imports fell 40.5 percent to 699 million dollars owing to lower oil prices and lower spending on investment and consumer goods.
“Both the agriculture and industrial sectors, which were affected by the decline in commodity prices, contributed to the reduction in growth in export earnings,” the bank said.
“The lower demand emanating from the global economic downturn also had an impact on the export volumes.”
The decline in agricultural exports, contributed to more than 50 percent of the decline in exports in January 2009.
The prices of tea and rubber fell by 9.7 percent and 45.9 percent.
“However, the performance in the exports of textiles and