Sri Lanka trade deficit narrows by 32-pct in July

Sept 29, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s trade deficit narrowed in July from the same month last year, the central bank said.

This was partly due to the base effect as July 2014 recorded the highest monthly import value after November 2012.

“The deficit in the trade account in July 2015 contracted substantially by 32.3 per cent to US dollars 602 million in comparison to US dollars 889 million in July 2014,” the central bank said.

“However, on a cumulative basis, trade deficit during the first seven months of 2015 increased by 6.0 per cent to US dollars 4,688 million,” it said.

The overall balance of payments recorded a deficit of 1,205 million dollars during the first seven months of 2015 in comparison with a surplus of 2,016 million dollars during the same period last year.

Sri Lanka’s gross official reserves stood at 6.8 billion dollars as at end July 2015, equivalent to 4.2 months of imports, with total foreign assets amounting to 8.4 billion dollars, or 5.2 months of imports.

Imports of vehicles under consumer goods increased 107 percent in July to 147 million dollars, and rose 99 percent to 744 million dollars during the first seven months compared with the same period last year. Vehicle imports under investment goods increased by a similar amount, but was not provided in the data.

“Higher imports of personal motor cars in both value and volume terms, and import of vehicles, such as lorries and tractors, contributed mainly for the increase in consumer goods and investment goods respectively.”

Fuel imports fell 66 percent to 175 million dollars in July from the same month last year, and dropped 46 percent in the first seven months to 1.6 billion dollars from 2.97 billion dollars in the same period last year.