Sri Lankan exports fall as earnings from clothes decline

Standing left to right – Mr. Dinesh Jebamani (Chief Manager Liability Product Management and New Age Media – Seylan Bank), Mr.Sudesh Peiris (Senior Manager – Digital Banking Channels – Seylan Bank), Ms. S.Senevirathne (Representative of the Revenue Department – Western Province), Mr. Tilan Wijeyesekera (Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking – Seylan Bank) and Mr. Malik Wickremanayaka (Deputy General Manager – Operations – Seylan Bank)

Apr.27 (LBO) – Exports from Sri Lanka fell four percent for the two months to February as the island shipped fewer clothes, the central bank said Thursday. Exports dropped to 748 million dollars from Jan-Feb, dragged down by a 9.6 percent fall or 425 million dollars in earnings from shipping clothes.

Garments now accounts for half of the island’s total export earnings, with nearly 58 percent of clothes made shipped to the US and 37 percent to European Union member states.

The import bill however, rose 19.1 percent to 1,428 million dollars, largely on account of surging global oil prices. Oil accounts for about 19 percent of the country’s import bill.

Sri Lanka imports all its crude requirements of 30 million barrels, and steep crude prices cost 275 million dollars (37.7 percent more) for the two months to February 2006, the bank said.

Sri Lanka’s balance of payments (BOP) has recorded a 76 million dollar surplus during the period, swelled by a steady inflow of overseas countrymen (up 30 percent to 190 million dollars).

Gross official reserves of the Central Bank have risen to 2.9 billion dollars (3.6 months of imports) by end Februa