Sri Lanka trade deficit widens in Dec 2019


Feb 18, 2020 (LBO) – The deficit in the trade account widened in December 2019 to US dollars 784 million, from US dollars 701 million in December 2018, led by a decline in exports and a growth in imports on a year-on-year basis, the monthly external report said. 

However, on a cumulative basis, the trade deficit contracted by US dollars 2,346 million to US dollars 7,997 million during 2019 from US dollars 10,343 million in 2018.

Meanwhile, the terms of trade, i.e., the ratio of the price of exports to the price of imports, deteriorated by 2.9 percent (year-on-year) in December 2019, as export prices declined at a faster pace than the decline in import prices.
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Cumulatively, the terms of trade deteriorated by 1.5 percent during 2019 in comparison to 2018.

In comparison to December 2018, earnings from merchandise exports declined by 3.2 percent to US dollars 1,000 million in December 2019, with the decline in agricultural exports as well as industrial exports.

Earnings from agricultural exports declined in December 2019 due to lower exports of most subcategories.

On a year-on-year basis, earnings from tea exports declined due to the combined effect of lower export volumes and average export prices.

Earnings from spices declined due to lower export prices of all sub sectors while export volumes, except cloves, also declined.

Earnings from industrial exports declined in December 2019 in comparison to December 2018, mainly driven by lower textiles and garment exports due to dampened demand from the EU and the USA, despite an increase recorded in exports to non-traditional markets such as Canada, Australia and China.

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