Sri Lanka November 2015 imports down 11-pct, exports fall 9.3-pct

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s trade deficit fell sharply in November 2015 from a year ago, down by 13.2 percent to 630 million US dollars as imports expenditure fell at a higher rate than the reduction in export earnings, the central bank said.

But the trade deficit for the first eleven months of 2015 marginally increased by 1.0 per cent to 7,566 million US dollars, a statement said.

Earnings from exports declined by 9.3 percent, year-on-year, to 835 million US dollars in November 2015 mainly due to declines in tea, rubber products, petroleum products and garments exports.

In line with the substantial decline in international oil prices, expenditure on imports in November 2015 continued to decline by 11.0 per cent, year on year, to 1,465 million US dollars, the lowest monthly import expenditure in 2015.

Export demand for tea was hit by currency depreciation and strife particularly in the Middle East, the central bank said.

Export earnings from garments, which contribute nearly 46 per cent to the total exports, declined by 2.7 percent in November 2015, reflecting low exports to EU markets.

However, garment exports to USA and non-traditional markets increased by 9.3 per cent and 7.5 per cent, year-on-year, respectively, in November 2015.

Earnings from exports declined by 4.4 per cent to 9,679 million US dollars during the first eleven months of 2015, reflecting the significant decline in earnings from tea, rubber products and sea food exports, the bank said.

The fall in imports in November 2015, year on year, was largely because of a substantial reduction in import expenditure on intermediate goods despite the increase in import expenditures on consumer goods and investment goods.

“The drop in international oil prices in November 2015 resulted in a 27.9 per cent decline in the fuel import bill despite the increases in import volumes of both crude oil and refined petroleum.”

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Import expenditure on rice declined significantly in November 2015 for the seventh consecutive month mainly due to the availability of rice in the local market and higher imports recorded in the previous year.

Expenditure on imports declined by 2.1 per cent to 17,244 million US dollars during the first eleven months of 2015.

(Colombo/Jan28/2016)
 

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