Sri Lanka March 2016 trade gap widens 20-pct
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s trade deficit expanded by 20.2 percent to 621 million US dollars in March 2016 from a year ago with both exports and imports down, the central bank said.
However, cumulative trade deficit during the first three months of 2016 contracted by 2.2 per cent to 1,867 million US dollars from the same period of 2015, a statement said.
Earnings from exports declined by 11.2 per cent to 945 million US dollars in March 2016 from 1,065 million US dollars recorded in March 2015, the highest monthly earnings in 2015.
The largest contribution for this decline came from transport equipment followed by exports of spices.
Earnings from transport equipment declined by 76.6 per cent, year-on-year, mainly due to significantly higher level of exports in the corresponding month of 2015 owing to export of a dredger vessel which was imported in 2014 for the use of the Port City Development Project.
However, earnings from textiles and garments exports, which accounted for 46.7 per cent of total export earnings, increased by 3.2 per cent, year-on-year, to 442 million US dollars in March 2016, reflecting growth in exports to the USA and non-traditional markets.
The central bank said that continuing the declining trend observed from the latter part of 2015, export earnings from spices decreased by 37.7 per cent, year-on-year, in March 2016, reflecting substantial reduction in cloves and pepper exports due to lower harvest.
Reflecting continuous decline in demand from major tea importers especially Russia and the Middle East, earnings from tea exports declined marginally by 0.6 per cent in March 2016.
Expenditure on imports declined for the ninth consecutive month in March 2016, down marginally by 0.9 per cent, year-on-year, to 1,566 million US dollars.
“This decline was led by the reductions in import expenditure on transport equipment categorised under investment goods, personal motor vehicles categorised under consumer goods and wheat and maize categorised under intermediate goods.”
Import expenditure on transport equipment and personal motor vehicles decreased by 61.6 per cent and 39.4 per cent, respectively, year-on-year, reflecting the impact of the policy measures adopted by the government to curtail vehicle imports.
(COLOMBO, July 01, 2016)