Sri Lanka trade deficit doubles, foreign reserves up

April 22, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s trade deficit doubled in the first two months of the year to 937 million dollars but the overall balance of payments was in surplus by 448 million dollars, the central bank said. In February exports grew 9.7 percent to 642.6 million dollars with tea exports rising 42.1 percent to 108.6 million amidst a global commodity boom but textile and garments exports saw a reversal with a fall of 2.7 percent to 257 million dollars.

“Agricultural exports, with a share of 24.5 per cent in total exports, grew by 35 per cent, year-on-year, in February 2008 and made a significant contribution of 72 per cent to the expansion of earnings from exports,” the central bank said in a statement.

“Earnings from tea made a key contribution to the growth in agricultural exports, with export prices of tea continuing to remain strong.”

Industrial exports however brought only 18 percent of the export growth with a reversal in apparel exports.

Imports were up 31.0 percent to 959 million dollars in the month with petroleum imports falling 6.6 percent and investment goods picking up 59.6 percent creating a trade deficit of 317 million dollars, up 115.7 percent over last February.

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