Sri Lanka imports fall 19-pct in 2019 March quarter as credit slows

ECONOMYNEXT  – Sri Lanka’s imports fell 19.3 percent  from a year earlier to 4.81 billion US dollars in the first quarter of 2019, as private credit slowed and balance sheets of some banks contracted, pointing to a sharp slowdown in economic activity.

Imports fell 12.6 percent from a year earlier to 1.72 billion US dollars in March 2019, while exports grew 2.6 percent to 1,137 million US dollars.

Tourism receipts grew 4.7 percent to 459 million US dollars and foreign remittances (exports of labour) fell 15.7 percent to 571 million US dollars.

Sri Lanka was hit by a currency crisis in 2019 as the central bank printed money to keep rates down as the economy recovered, triggering monetary instability which was worsened after President Maithripala Sirisena triggered a political crisis, violating the constitution.

Capital flight worsened after the so-called coup in October 2018 and the central bank engaged in a series of step devaluations of the soft-peg while intervening and printing money (sterilizing outflows).

Exports grew 2.6 percent to 1,137 million US dollars in March.

The trade gap fell to 592 million US dollars to 871 million US dollars. (Colombo/May28/2019)

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