Nov 24, 2009 (LBO) – Vehicle imports to Sri Lanka in August 2009, measured by the total number of new registration of motor vehicles, fell 22.2 percent to 16,293 from a year ago, latest official data showed. The government lifted restrictions imposed towards the end of 2008 on import letters of credit for vehicles, amid a balance of payments crisis. In the eight months to August total vehicle imports were down 31.2 percent to 124,822 compared with the same period in 2008, according to central bank statistics.
In August 2009, the number of buses imported fell 24.5 percent to 80, cars fell 66.8 percent to 423 and trucks and other goods transport vehicles fell 24.9 percent to 779 from the previous year.
The number of three-wheeled auto-rickshaws imported, mainly from India, was down 28.6 percent to 2,713 in August 2009 from a year ago while motorcycle imports fell 10.2 percent to 11,274.
However, imports of some types of vehicles were higher than in July 2009, indicating a recovery was underway.
The central bank has said it expects the economy, which slowed down sharply in the first half of the year, as it was affected by global recession, to pick up speed in the second half.