Sri Lanka’s import bill gallops ahead of November export earnings

Jan. 17 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s import bill for the eleven months surged ahead of export earnings for the same period last year due to rising energy costs, but the island’s Central Bank Tuesday left its key interest rates unchanged. Jan. 17 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s import bill for the eleven months surged ahead of export earnings for the same period last year due to rising energy costs, but the island’s Central Bank Tuesday left its key interest rates unchanged. Following it’s monthly economic review, the bank said although, import costs surpassed export earnings, the country’s foreign reserves had increased to US$ 3.9 billion – sufficient to cover 5.2 months of imports.

Higher earnings from exports of textiles, garments, rubber based products, food and beverages helped the country earn US$ 5.7 billion for the eleven months to 2005, the bank said.

However, the gain was erased by a 12.7 percent rise in the island’s import bill for the eleven months to November 2005.

The bank said Sri Lanka had to fork out US$ 8.1 billion to pay for imports due to a hefty 45 percent rise in petroleum prices, from Jan-Nov 2005.

Sri Lanka imports all its oil requirements from Iran (70 percent), Malaysia (20 percent) and Saudi Arabia (10 pe