Sri Lanka’s Sept exports up 4.4-pct to $1,055mn

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s exports grew 4.4 percent in September 2018 to 1,055 million US dollars from a year ago, exceeding a billion dollars for the fourth straight month, but the trade gap widened as import spending rose faster.

The central bank said spending on merchandise imports increased by 6.1percent to 1,768 million dollars in September 2018 from a year ago mainly due to high expenditure incurred on fuel and personal vehicle imports.

Earnings from industrial exports, which account for 77 percent of the total export earnings, grew by 9.4 percent during September 2018 to 814 million dollars  owing to high demand for garments from the USA and Canada, India and Japan although exports to Europe fell.

Earnings from agricultural exports fell by 10.8 percent to 234 million dollars, reflecting poor performance of tea and almost all other categories except seafood, a statement said.

The central bank said that on a cumulative basis, the trade deficit widened to 7.95 billion dollars during the first nine months of 2018 from 6.8 billion dollars the previous year.

In September 2018, spending on fuel imports, categorised under intermediate goods, increased significantly during the month reflecting the combined effect of higher import prices and volumes of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

Under consumer goods, personal motor vehicle imports continued to increase in September 2018 mainly due to higher imports of motor cars with less than 1,500 cylinder capacity (cc).

This partly reflected the impact of increase in vehicle import orders placed before higher tariffs came into effect from 01 August 2018.

Import expenditure on hybrid and electric motor vehicles also increased during the period.

“However, expenditure on personal vehicle imports is expected to decline in the coming months with policy measures taken by the Government and the Central Bank to curtail vehicle imports,” the central bank said.
(COLOMBO, 29 November 2018)





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