Sri Lanka imports up in May amid rising credit, widening trade gap; exports flat
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s imports rose 17.2 percent to 1.5 billion dollars in May 2015 from a year earlier, official data showed amid growing state and private credit in 2015, while exports were flat.
Consumer goods imports rose 25.6 percent to 348 million US dollars in May from a year earlier. Though food imports fell 4.1 percent to 131.9 million US dollars amid falls in commodity prices, expenditure on vehicles rose 87 percent to 93 million US dollars.
Most cars are financed by credit, data shows.
Intermediate goods also rose 11.9 percent to 889.2 million US dollars despite a fall in fuel imports by 7.8 percent to 264.3 million US dollars.
Textile imports rose 16.3 percent to205.2 million US dollars, probably pointing higher industrial exports in future months.
Investment goods rose 23.6 percent to 345.8 million US dollars with machinery and equipment up 21 percent to 174 million US dollars. Building materials were down 3.5 percent to 100 million US dollars.
Transport equipment were up 117 percent to 71.6 million US dollars.
Exports were flat 888.2 million US dollars from 883.5 million US dollar in May 2015 from a year earlier with tea down 12.1 percent to 123.6 million US dollars. Tea prices have fallen in international markets.
Apparel exports were up 7.6 percent to 392.9 million US dollars.
Seafood exports were down 39 percent to 14.9 million US dollars amid a ban by the EU.
The trade deficit expanded 49 percent to 702 million US dollars in May 2015 from a year earlier.
In the 5 months to May, exports were barely up 0.2 percent to 4,471 million US dollars and imports rose 4.3 percent to 7,868 million US dollars.
The trade gap widened 10.2 percent to 3,396.
A trade gap is generated when consumers spend money earned outside exports such as from remittances or foreign borrowings on hard goods. But imports are also boosted and the currency comes under pressure when the Central Bank releases liquidity to money markets. (Colombo/July22/2015)