Yawning Gap

The trade deficit widened during the first four months of this year as the import bill galloped ahead of total exports, the Central Bank said Tuesday.
The bank said the deficit from January to April rose to US$ 566 mn, from US$ 503 mn during the same quarter last year. rn

rnDespite a yawning deficit, the Central Bank stocked up on reserves buying US$ 103 mn in the market during the first quarter of this year. But the pressure on the rupee eased up due to a growth in tourism and investment.rn

rnCumulative export earnings during the period continued to surge for the seventh consecutive month topping 13 percent to US$ 1.5 bn, while the import bill also rose 13 percent to US$ 2.1 bn.rn

rnThe bank expects the economy to expand by 5.5 percent in 2003, after growing 4.0 percent in 2002. rn

rnExports
rnrnExports in April picked up by 21 percent to US$ 305 mn from US$ 251 mn in the same month last year. rn

rnThe winning runs came from the textile and garment sector, followed by machinery and