July garment imports take a dip

Garment exports dropped two percent to US$ 263 million in July, ending a long growth standing streak due to higher costs and competition after the quote regime ended in 2004. Sector exports for the first seven months are however up 6.4 percent but analysts say stagnant prices and lower imports by the sector indicate further drops.

The Central Bank on Tuesday said textiles and clothing imports declined marginally by 1.1 percent to US$ 845 million in the first seven months of 2005 from US$ 854 million in the same period of 2004.

Sri Lanka’s trade deficit meanwhile rose US$ 100 million to US$ 1.37 billion for the seven months.

A 32.8 percent increase in petroleum imports at US$ 840 million in 2005 reflecting the escalation of international oil prices also added to higher import costs.

The Central Bank in a statement on Tuesday said despite the widening trade deficit, the overall balance of payments position turned around from a deficit of US dollars 223 million to a surplus of US dollars 134 million by the end of July 2005.

The positive turn, the Central Bank says reflects the benefits of private remittances, which grew by 23 percent in the first sev