Sri Lanka trade gap widens 35-pct in Jan; fuel imports up 102-pct

May 05, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s exports dropped 3.8 percent to 865 million dollars in January 2017, while imports grew at a faster 13.2 percent to 1,798 million dollars from a year earlier, official data showed.

The trade gap has further widened 35.2 percent to 934 million US dollars from a year earlier.

“The deficit in the trade balance increased substantially January 2017 due to higher expenditure on imports and the decline in earnings from exports,” the Central Bank said.

Earnings from exports dropped 3.8 percent reflecting subdued performance mainly in earnings from industrial exports despite an increase recorded in agricultural exports.

Export earnings from industrial exports, which account for about 77 percent of total exports, declined by 6.7 percent mainly due to the decline in earnings from textiles and garments, rubber products and gems, diamonds and jewellery.

Earnings from textiles and garments exports which account for around 49 percent of total export earnings, contracted by 8.2 percent reflecting lower demand for garments from both traditional and non-traditional markets.

Expenditure on intermediate goods was the main driver for 13.2 percent imports growth followed by consumer goods imports.

This increase of intermediate goods was mainly driven by higher expenditure on fuel led by refined petroleum imports.

Import expenditure on refined petroleum increased by 101.6 percent due to higher volumes imported as a result of increased thermal power generation with prevailing drought conditions in the country as well as higher international oil prices.

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