Feb 16, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s exports grew 6.4 percent to 723.4 million dollars in December 2009 exceeding those of the year before for the first time as a recovery which began in April gathered steam, the Central Bank said. But there was strong growth in mineral exports, mainly gems.
Lower exports of petroleum products, rubber-based products, machinery and equipment also contributed to the fall in industrial exports in December 2009.
Imports in December were up slightly by 0.5 percent – to 1,053.5 million dollars with food and drink imports up 28.1 percent although other consumer goods imports fell 24 percent.
The trade deficit contracted for the 12th consecutive month in December 2009 by 10.4 percent to 330 million dollars.
The trade deficit for the whole year halved to 2,798.6 million dollars from 5,897.4 million in 2008.
Despite the export recovery, exports earnings for the whole year were still lower than in 2008, falling 12.7 percent to 7,084.5 million dollars.
Agricultural exports were down nine percent to 1,690.3 million dollars in 2009 from the year before with tea exports down 6.8 percent to 1,185.1 million dollars and apparel down 5.6 percent to 3,274.2 million dollars.