Sri Lanka exports up 10.5-pct in March
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s exports grew 6.3 percent to 1,107.7 million US dollars in March 2018 from a year earlier, with industrial exports growing 10.5 percent to 861 million US dollars, the central bank said.
Apparel exports grew 7.4 percent to 486 million US dollars, rubber products grew 11.8 percent to 85.8 million US dollars and gems and jewellery grew 91.9 percent to 38.7 million US dollars.
Agricultural exports fell 5.6 percent to 138.5 million US dollars with tea up 3.6 percent to 138.5 million US dollars and rubber, coconut and spices shipments falling. Seafood exports fell 3.3 percent to 28 million US dollars.
Consumer goods imports rose 1.8 percent to 477.1 million US dollars with rice imports plunging 43.5 percent to 29.7 million US dollars.
Non-food consumer goods rose 17.6 percent to 299 million US dollars with motor vehicles up 101.3 percent to 150 million US dollars. Telecom devices fell 34.1 percent to 24.4 million US dollars and home appliances fell 30 percent to 21 million US dollars.
Intermediate goods rose 18.3 percent to 1,121 million US dollars, with fuel up 62 percent to 398 million US dollars.
Gold imports rose 243 percent to 139.7 million US dollars.
The gold is believed to be smuggled to India, and it may be used to undervalue imports. Sri Lanka’s exports and imports in March may be understated by that amount.
India taxed gold imports in a Mercantilist belief that it hurt their currency in 2013 and Sri Lanka followed suit this year in a similar knee-jerk reaction, hurting the country’s jewellery and gold sectors.
Investment goods fell 15.8 percent to 378.6 million US dollars in March, with building materials down 20.9 percent to 112.3 percent and machinery and equipment down 11.5 percent to 210 million US dollars.
The trade gap expanded to 871 million US dollars from 828 million US dollars.
Sri Lanka has a trade deficit because people earn foreign exchange through means other than goods exports including exports of labour (remittances) which rose 5.4 percent to 678 million US dollars.
Estimated tourism earnings rose 24.1 percent to 433 million US dollars. Sri Lanka has a current account deficit due to mostly government borrowing abroad, which when spent in a budget deficit, triggers imports and deficit in the current account. (Colombo/May31/2018)