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Sri Lanka’s February trade gap narrows to 5-yr low

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s monthly trade deficit narrowed to 451 million US dollars in February 2019, the lowest in more than five years, as import spending slowed sharply owing to government restrictions, the Central Bank said.

Earnings from merchandise exports increased by 7.2 per cent to 981 million US dollars in February 2019 from a year ago, a statement said.

“The growth in exports was largely driven by the improved performance in industrial exports followed by the marginal recovery in agricultural exports.”

Spending on imports declined by 27.6 per cent to 1,432 million US dollars in February2019, the lowest value since May 2014.

This was due to lower expenses incurred on all major import categories, intermediate goods, consumer goods and investment goods. Total imports, excluding fuel, also declined significantly.

The fall in imports reflected the impact of policy measures implemented by the Central Bank and the government to discourage certain imports and the significant depreciation of the rupee during the latter part of 2018, the statement said.

“With the support of the policy measures implemented since August 2018, expenditure on personal motor vehicle imports declined significantly, on a year-on-year basis, for the third consecutive month in February 2019, mitigating the pressure on the external sector.”
(COLOMBO, April 22, 2019-SB)

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