Sri Lanka exports fall for 7th month in September

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan exports fell for the seventh successive month in September 2015, down by 5.9 percent to 850 million US dollars from a year ago as rubber product and tea shipments slumped, the central bank said.

Spending on imports also fell, down by 5.1 percent to 1,583 million US dollars over the same period, with lower spending on fuel imports.

The trade deficit in September 2015 contracted by 4.1 percent to 733 million US dollars  from a year ago.

However, on a cumulative basis, the trade deficit during the first nine months of 2015 increased by 3.8 percent to 6,145 million US dollars, the central bank said in a statement.

The largest contribution to the drop in September 2015 exports came from industrial exports, which declined by 4.7 percent.

This was because of lower shipments of rubber products, gems, diamonds and jewellery, machinery and mechanical appliances and printing industry products, which make up around 60 percent of the overall decline in exports.

But export earnings from textiles and garments, which account for around 48 percent of total exports increased by 1.8 percent, year-on-year during the month, the central bank said.

Earnings from agricultural exports in September 2015 declined by 11.3 percent, year-on-year, mainly due to significant declines in tea and sea food exports as in last few months.

“Tea exports have been severely affected by the lower demand from Russia and the Middle East countries,” it said.

Tea export earnings dropped by 20.4 per cent in September 2015 compared to the corresponding month in 2014, reflecting declines in both export volumes and export prices.

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The fall in imports in September 2015 was largely because of a decline in investment goods, followed by intermediate goods.

While vehicle imports grew, expenditure on imports of transport equipment dropped by 47.9 percent in September 2015, mainly reflecting the higher import expenditure recorded in September 2014 due to the import of a dredger vessel.

The continuous fall in the fuel import bill in September 2015, in line with the reduction in fuel prices in the international market, was the main contributor for the 4.8 percent reduction in import expenditure on intermediate goods.

Import expenditure on textiles and textile articles, diamonds and precious stones and metals and base metals also dropped significantly during the month, the central bank said.

“However, import expenditure on wheat and maize, fertiliser and mineral products, which are categorized under intermediate goods, increased significantly in September 2015,” it said. (Colombo/December 08 2015)
 

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