Sri Lanka’s trade deficit continues to run wild, egged on by hefty petroleum bills

Despite introducing hefty taxes to curb imports of non-essential items like motor vehicles, Sri Lanka’s trade deficit continued to run wild, egged on by hefty petroleum and investment goods bills, the Central Bank said Thu. Despite introducing hefty taxes to curb imports of non-essential items like motor vehicles, Sri Lanka’s trade deficit continued to run wild, egged on by hefty petroleum and investment goods bills, the Central Bank said Thu. Trade deficit from Jan-Nov expanded US$ 669 mn to US$ 1,947 mn over the corresponding period 2003, on the back of export earnings of US$ 5,244 mn (up 13 percent) and a US$ 7,191 mn import bill (up 22 percent).

Petroleum, which accounts for 15 percent of the country’s total import bill, shot up 46 percent to US$ 1,107 mn during the eleven month period due to higher crude prices.

Besides petroleum, big spending came from intermediate/investment goods US$ 1,505 mn (up 34 percent), textiles/apparels US$ 1,380 mn (up 12 percent), fertiliser US$ 77 mn (up 10 percent) and consumer goods, the bank said.

The ongoing drought, which put the brakes on Yala paddy production, saw rice import go up by US$ 20 mn in November.

Other essentials like sugar (up 22 percent), milk/milk p