Sri Lanka’s exports and imports declines in August 2015: Central Bank

Exports

Oct 22, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s exports earnings recorded a decline of 19.5 per cent, year-on-year, to 799 million US dollars in August 2015, showing decreases in all major export categories, Central bank data showed.

The lower earnings from tea, textiles and garments, transport equipment and rubber products mainly contributed to the overall decline in exports earnings during the month.

Earning from tea exports in August 2015 declined by 33.9 per cent to US dollars 92 million due to the combined effect of lower export volumes and prices.

Industrial exports declined 17.5 percent to 618.2 million US dollars in the month of August compare to the same month last year.

Export earnings from textiles and garments, which accounted for half of the exports in the month, declined by 6.6 per cent to 400.1 million US dollars, reflecting a reduction in exports to the EU market for the sixth consecutive month.

Meanwhile, export earnings from transport equipment decreased by 85.9 per cent to 4.6 million US dollars, year-on-year, mainly due to higher exports in August 2014 largely due to the export of a cruise ship.

Export earnings from gems, diamond and jewellery declined 40.5 percent to 22.3 million US dollars in the month of August while 18.6 percent decline has been shown in the same category for the eight months ended in August 2015 compare to the same corresponding period.

Earnings from agricultural exports in August 2015 declined by 25.8 per cent to 177.8 US dollars, led by significant declines recorded in tea and sea food exports.

Earning from tea exports in August 2015 declined by 33.9 per cent to US dollars 92 million due to the combined effect of lower export volumes and prices.

Exports of seafood declined by 41.7 per cent due to the 88.3 per cent decline in seafood exports to the EU market reflecting the impact of the ban on exports of fisheries products to the EU from Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is on discussion with EU to regain the GSP plus concession to improve exports.

However, spices and unmanufactured tobacco, categorised under agricultural exports, and printing industry products, categorised under industrial products recorded a growth during the month, Central bank says.

“On a cumulative basis, export earnings declined by 3.4 per cent, year-on-year, to US dollars 7,147 million during the first eight months of 2015 largely due to weak global demand.”

Import bill also declined by 11.7 per cent, year-on-year, to 1,523 million US dollars in August 2015.

Despite the considerable expansion in import expenditure on consumer goods and investment goods, a substantial reduction in intermediate goods imports mainly due to a significant decline in fuel imports led to this decline.” Central Bank says.

“The drop in international oil prices to a six year low level in August 2015 together with the decline in the import volume of refined petroleum resulted in a 60.5 per cent reduction in the fuel import bill.”

Import expenditure on consumer goods increased 28.2 percent 420.3 million US dollars in August 2015.

Intermediate goods import bill declined 30.4 to 738.7 million US dollars in the same month contributed largely by fuel, textile and textile articles and wheat and maize.

The 56.9 per cent increase in the expenditure on importation of motor vehicles for personal usage, mainly contributed for the increase in consumer goods imports.

Sri Lanka imported 160.3 million US dollar vehicles in the month of August 2015 while 89.9 percent to 904.6 million US dollars was recorded for the eight months ended in August 2015 for vehicle imports.

Despite the marginal decline in import expenditure on machinery and equipment and building materials, a significant increase of 95.0 per cent in imports of transport equipment contributed to the 8.9 per cent increase in investment goods imports.

High expenditure on imports of auto-trishaws and tractors mainly contributed to the increase in importation of transport equipment.

On a cumulative basis, expenditure on imports during the first eight months of 2015 increased by US dollars 4 million to US dollars 12,559 million, despite the significant drop in international commodity prices, especially fuel.

The trade gap in August fell 1 percent to 724.5 million US dollars.