ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s exports fell 2.2 percent to 10.3 billion rupees in 2016 from a year earlier amid lower commodity prices and apparels, the main industrial export growing 1.3 percent to 7,940 million dollars, amid falling exports in several Asian nations, official data showed.
In December exports rose 4.4 percent to 654 million dollars, helped by rubber products which grew 6.7 percent to 62.4 million US dollars, while apparel exports were flat at 393 million US dollars.
Petroleum products rose 1.7 percent to 30.7 million dollars.
Tea exports rose 4.4 percent to 109.8 million dollars and coconut exports rose 20.4 percent to 28.5 million US dollars.
In December imports rose 10.4 percent to 1.8 billion US dollars, giving a trade gap of 957 million dollars, up 16.1 percent.
Imports for the full year rose 2.5 percent to 19.4 billion US dollars with consumer goods down 8.4 percent to 4.3 billion US dollars, intermediate goods up 2.4 percent to 9.87 billion US dollars and investment good up 13.8 percent, driven by machinery and construction materials.
The trade gap rose 8.4 percent to 9.0 billion US dollars with remittances (7.2 billion US dollars) and tourism (3.5 billion US dollars) providing most of the money to spend.
For the full year tea exports fell 5.3 percent to 1,269 million dollars, coconut exports rose 4 percent to 366 million dollars, seafood rose 4 percent.
Transport equipment exports fell 46 percent to 131.5 million dollars, petroleum exports were down 23 percent to 286 million dollars.
Sri Lanka’s exports are weak despite a collapsed currency in 2015,, with past expropriation and ad hoc taxes continuing to dim foreign investments.
Most Asian nations also experienced weak export growth except Vietnam which saw a growth in mobile phones and agricultural products as well as record foreign direct investments.
China’s exports fell 7.7 percent in 2016, the worst fall since 2009, while Hong Kong fell 1.1 percent.
Vietnam’s exports grew 6.9 percent driven by phones and components which grew phones and parts grew 14 percent to 34.5 billion US dollars Coffee exports rose 125 percent to 3.3 billion US dollars, fruits and vegetables expanding 130 percent to 2.4 billion US dollars. Textile exports rose 3.3 percent to 23.5 billion US dollars. (Colombo/Mar28/2017)