Sri Lanka February trade gap widens, lower exports, higher rice, fuel imports


Sri Lanka's trade deficit widened to US$743 million in February 2017 from a year ago with a decline in exports amid increased imports mainly of fuel and rice, the central bank said.

Exports fell 2.7% in February to $867.8 million while imports rose 11.9% to $1.61 billion, a statement said.

Sri Lanka’s January-February 2017 trade deficit widened to $1.68 billion from $1.24 billion the year before.

Earnings from industrial exports, which represent about 76 per cent of total exports, declined by 6.5 per cent, year-on-year, to $659 million in February 2017 mainly due to reduced earnings from textiles and garments.

Export earnings from textiles and garments contracted by 14.5 per cent to $396 million in February 2017 reflecting a significant decline in garment exports to the EU and the USA.

Food, beverages and tobacco and gems, diamonds and jewellery also contributed substantially to the lower earnings from industrial exports.

However, earnings from machinery and mechanical appliances, petroleum products and rubber products improved, the central bank said.

Earnings from agricultural exports grew for the third consecutive month registering an increase of 12.5 per cent to $205 million in February 2017.

Earnings from tea exports increased by 12.8 per cent in value terms due to higher prices, in spite of a decline in the volume exported.

Expenditure on imports increased by 11.9 per cent, year -on -year, to $1, 611 million in February 2017, continuing the double digit growth seen in imports for the fifth consecutive month, the statement said.

Higher expenditure incurred on intermediate goods contributed largely to this growth.

Rice imports increased to $36 million in February 2017 in comparison to less than a million US dollars incurred in February 2016.


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