May 31, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s exports surged 54 percent in March to 1,057 million dollars, topping a billion dollars for the first time helped by a steep increase in industrial goods as well as rising commodity prices, official data showed. Investment goods imports rose 95 percent to 163 million US dollars and consumer goods rose 60 percent to 402 million US dollars.
The trade deficit doubled to 632 million US dollars in March.
In the first quarter of the year exports rose 54.3 percent to 2.72 billion US dollars, imports were up 39.9 percent to 4.4 billion US dollars and the trade gap widened 22 percent to 1.2 billion US dollars.
Worker remittances rose 34 percent to in March to 503 million US dollars. In the first quarter remittances were up 27 percent to 1.2 billion US dollars.
Sri Lanka has a pegged exchange rate and inflows from abroad that increase the domestic incomes including remittances and net foreign borrowings will drive up imports and widen the trade deficit.
Textile and apparel, the country’s key industrial export rose 68.3 percent to 473 million US dollars, rubber products rose 75.6 percent to 79.1 million US dollars and food beverages and tobacco rose 30 percent to 58.4 million US dollars, the Centra