Sri Lankan imports fall sharply in December 2018, trade gap narrows

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s imports fell sharply in December 2018 from a year ago with the trade gap narrowing significantly after restrictions on vehicle and other consumer goods imports while exports rose only marginally, the Central Bank said.

“Reflecting the effect of policy measures taken by the Central Bank and the government, expenditure on merchandise imports declined by 15.3 percent (year-on-year) to 1,735 million US dollars in December 2018,” a statement said.

It was the lowest import value for the year. All major import categories, intermediate goods, consumer goods, and investment goods contributed to the decline.

Earnings from merchandise exports increased marginally by 1.4 percent to 1,033 million US dollars in December 2018 from the year before.

“This marginal growth was mainly due to the base effect as the month of December recorded the second highest export value in 2017,” the Central Bank said.

An increase in industrial exports contributed mainly to the growth of export earnings in December 2018, while agricultural and mineral exports declined.

Export earnings from industrial exports increased in December 2018, mainly due to higher exports of textiles and garments.

The higher demand for garments from USA and EU supported the increase in export earnings.

Total exports of goods grew by 4.7 percent in 2018 to 11.9 billion US dollars while imports grew 6.0 per cent to 22.2 billion US dollars.

Consequently, the trade deficit for the year widened moderately to 10.3 billion US dollars in 2018 from 9.6 billion US dollars in 2017.
 
(COLOMBO, March 13, 2019-SB)
 

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