May 22, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s trade deficit doubled in March 2008 to 448 million dollars as imports ratcheted up 32 percent while exports grew only 7.8 percent, government data showed. Exports grew 7.8 percent in March with apparel growing 8.2 percent to 293 million dollars. Agricultural exports grew 29 percent with tea growing 35.4 percent to 106.5 million US dollars.
Imports grew 32.5 percent to 1,129 million US dollars with consumer goods growing 37.1 percent to 255.3 million, intermediate which includes oil growing 44 percent to 658 million US dollars.
The trade deficit for March was 449.4 million US dollars, up 102 percent from 222 million US dollars in March 2007.
The first quarter trade deficit also more than doubled to 1,386 million US dollars from 669 million a year before. Imports grew 37.6 percent to 3,264 million US dollars from 2,373 million.
Exports in the first quarter grew 10.2 percent 1,878 million US dollars, with apparels growing only 3.2 percent to 780 million US dollars, while total industrial exports grew only 3.5 percent.
The petroleum bill doubled to 737 million US dollars.
Meanwhile worker remittances grew 23.5 percent t