Sri Lanka’s trade deficit narrows to its lowest point, says Central Bank

Sri Dharanee Performance Arts Theatre

Despite an upsurge in global oil prices, Sri Lanka’s trade deficit narrowed to its lowest point in January, as lower imports of textiles, diamonds, electrical equipment and building materials took the pressure of the Exchequer. Despite an upsurge in global oil prices, Sri Lanka’s trade deficit narrowed to its lowest point in January, as lower imports of textiles, diamonds, electrical equipment and building materials took the pressure of the Exchequer. The trade deficit for January contracted to US$ 62 mn over US$ 152 mn reported during the corresponding period 2004 – “the narrowest monthly trade deficit since August 2003,” the Central Bank said Tuesday.

A modest five percent drop in import bill of US$ 579 mn however, was offset by a 20 percent rise in petroleum products. The island nation imports 2.1 MT of crude annually, which accounts for 16 percent of total imports. Oil bill for 2004 topped US$ 1.1 bn, but is expected to ease up to about US$ 950 mn this year.

Elsewhere, there was a drop in imports of textiles (30 percent), diamonds (46 percent), wheat (40 percent) and motor vehicles (55 percent).

A month after the tsunami also saw an 18 percent (US$ 26 mn) drop in building materials. Machinery and electrical eq