Sri Lanka's trade deficit ended 2004 on a hard bump, widening by US$ 677 mn, as a hefty petroleum import bill cost the cashed starved treasury an extra US$ 372 mn, the Central Bank said Monday. The island nation imports its entire fuel needs of 2.1 mn MT from Iran (70 percent), Malaysia (20 percent) and Saudi Arabia (10 percent).
Petroleum, which accounted for 15 percent of total imports, jumped 44 percent to US$ 1,209 mn in 2004.
The country's total import bill surged 20 percent to US$ 7,973 mn, while export earnings grew 12 percent to US$ 5,757 mn. "This was the highest performance achieved since 2000," the Central Bank said referring to the export performance.
Export earnings from the apparel sector were up nine percent to US$ 2,809 mn as at end 2004.
The end result was a US$ 2,216 mn trade deficit, up US$ 677 mn over 2003.
"This deficit has been financed largely with the remittances, net earnings in services and inflows in the financial and capital accounts," the bank said.