Sri Lanka October exports up 6-pct

Dec 11, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s export earnings in October grew 5.9 percent to 661.2 million US dollars from a year ago led by agriculture and apparel, recovering from a fall in September, the Central Bank said. Growth in imports slipped below 20 percent in October for the first time in 2008 after several months of rapid expansion, the bank said in a statement.

Imports grew by 13 percent in October 2008 to 1,218 million dollars mainly owing to the high price of fertiliser.

The island’s trade deficit widened by 22.7 percent to 556 million dollars in October 2008 as against the higher average growth of 88.1 percent witnessed in the first nine months of the year, the bank said.

As a result, the cumulative deficit in the trade balance expanded to 5,170 million US dollars during the first ten months of the year, compared to the deficit of 2,907 million US dollars for the corresponding period previous year.

Sri Lanka’s exports earnings had fallen by 9.4 percent to 652 million US dollars in September compared with the same month a year ago on lower demand from the US and other big markets for industrial exports, especially apparel.

The textiles industry, a key sector of the economy generating