Sri Lanka exports down 1.7-pct in February

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s export earnings fell 1.7 percent in February 2016 to $888 million from a year ago, the Central Bank said.

Expenditure on imports fell 5.9 percent year-on-year to $1,439 million in February 2016, continuing the declining trend observed in the preceding seven months.

The island’s trade deficit contracted 11.9 percent in February 2016 year-on-year to $552 million, owing to the sharp decline in imports which significantly outpaced the fall in exports, a statement said. 

The cumulative trade deficit decreased 10.5 percent to $1,246 million in the first two months of 2016 from the corresponding period in 2015.

The Central Bank said the largest contribution to the decline in exports was from petroleum products, although lower tea and rubber shipments also contributed significantly to the fall.

Earnings from petroleum products in February 2016 declined 55.6 percent year-on-year, reflecting a reduction in both bunker fuel export volume and average price level.

Export earnings from tea and rubber products dropped by 6.8 percent and 10.7 percent, respectively, in February 2016 due to depressed demand and lower prices.

“However, exports of textiles and garments, which comprise nearly 52 percent of total exports, increased 10.3 percent during the month and helped to contain the negative growth of total exports to some extent,” the Central Bank said.

Garments exports to the European Union and the United States have increased 11.7 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively, in February 2016.

On a cumulative basis, earnings from exports declined 2.0 percent to $1,783 million during the first two months of 2016.





The largest contribution to the fall in imports in February 2016 came from fuel imports, which declined 43.7 percent to $149 million, as average crude oil import price declined to $35.36 per barrel in February 2016 compared to $69.52 per barrel recorded in February 2015.

However, import volumes of refined petroleum products increased mainly due to higher thermal power generation.

Import expenditure on transport equipment and building materials, which is categorised under investment goods, decreased significantly by 24.9 percent and 10.4 percent, respectively, in February 2016.

On a cumulative basis, expenditure on imports during the first two months of 2016 decreased by 5.7 percent to $3,028 million, driven by fuel imports.
(COLOMBO, June 07 2016)

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