Sri Lanka November 2014 exports down 11-pct
EconomyNext – Sri Lanka’s exports fell almost 11 percent to 921 million US dollars in November 2014 from a year ago mainly because of lower apparel exports to the United States and Europe as well as rubber products and tea shipments.
Imports in November 2014 rose moderately by 4.8 percent year-on-year to 1,645 million dollars from the year before mainly because of increased spending on vehicles and rice, the Central Bank said in a statement.
The trade deficit in November 2014 widened 35 percent to 724 million US dollars in comparison to 538 million dollars in November 2013.
The trade deficit during the first eleven months of 2014 widened by 6.6 percent to 7,509.8 million dollars from a year ago with exports up 7.5 percent to 10,108 million dollars and imports growing by 7.1 percent to 17,618 million dollars.
The decline in exports in November 2014 was largely due to a fall in earnings from textiles and garments followed by rubber products and gems, diamonds and jewellery categorized under industrial exports, the Central Bank said.
"Earnings from textiles and garments exports declined by 14.4 percent in November 2014 with the decline in garment exports to the EU and to the USA by 16.6 percent and 17.8 percent," it said.
"Export earnings from rubber products declined mainly due to the decline in rubber tyre exports.
"Export earnings from tea showed a moderate decline of 4.5 percent mainly due to the lower prices despite higher volumes."
The Central Bank said export earnings from spices also declined as lower production reduced volumes in spite of favourable prices in certain categories including cinnamon, pepper and cloves.
"Export of coconut products and minor agricultural products increased by 32.6 percent and 69.1 percent, reflecting their potential for further expansion," the statement said.
The leading markets for merchandise exports of Sri Lanka during the first eleven months of 2014 continued to be the USA, UK, Italy, India and Germany accounting for about half of total exports.
The increase in import expenditure in November 2014 was mainly led by imports of consumer goods.
There was a "significant increase" in imports of personal motor vehicles such as motor cycles and motor cars as well as rice imports," the statement said.
Imports of intermediate good categories increased marginally in November 2014 despite the significant decline in imports of fuel, wheat and maize and food preparations.
Imports of textiles and textiles articles, fertilizer, chemical products, rubber and rubber based articles and paper and paper boards increased considerably during the month.
The Central Bank said imports of fertilizer increased by 75.7 percent in November 2014 due to larger volumes imported for the ‘Maha’ cultivation season.
Spending on fuel imports fell by 26.5 percent due to the sharp fall in crude oil imports owing to lower prices and volumes.
"Imports of investment goods declined by 10.4 percent reflecting decreases in all sub categories," the Central Bank said.
During the first eleven months of 2014, the main import origins continued to be India, China, UAE, Singapore and Japan accounting for about 59 percent of total imports.