Sept 11, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s new vehicle registrations have plunged 48 percent in June 2012 from a year earlier in the wake of higher taxes and currency depreciation with three wheelers falling the most, official data showed. In the six months to June total vehicle registrations were down 5.7 percent to 234,388. Motor car registrations were down 26.8 percent to 21,886, motor cycles were down 4.4 percent to 117,689, and three wheelers were down 26.8 percent to 50,811.
Three wheeler registrations in the month of June fell 68.4 percent to 4,300 from 13,753, motor cars fell 56.4 percent to 2,208 from 5,069 and motor cycles fell motor cycles fell 46.3 percent to 12,181 from 22,690, a year earlier, central bank data showed.
Sri Lanka jacked up vehicle taxes in the second quarter of 2011 after the island’s rupee peg came under pressure when rulers manipulated energy prices with commercial bank credit and printed money to keep interest rates down as loan demand rocketed.
Amusingly authorities blamed car imports for the fall in the rupee and not the credit funded energy subsidies. But in February 2012 energy prices and interest rates were jacked up and the rupee allowed to fall in line with the underlying monetary policy.