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TABLE-Sri Lankan April trade deficit widens 19.2 pct yr/yr
June 24, 2013 / 4:47 AM / 4 years ago

TABLE-Sri Lankan April trade deficit widens 19.2 pct yr/yr

COLOMBO, June 24 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's trade deficit
widened 19.2 percent to $825.4 million in April from $692.6
million a year earlier, central bank data showed on Monday, as
imports showed a positive growth amid continued decline in
exports.
    The central bank's tight monetary policy measures and a
flexible exchange rate, adopted early last year to curb trade
and current account deficits, have resulted in sluggish external
trade since the second quarter of 2012.
    The following table shows the trade performance in April and
the same month last year.
    For a story on the trade deficit, see 
                    April '13       April '12        Y/Y growth
                      (in millions of dollars)      (in percent)
 Exports                696.6           747.8              (6.8)
 Imports              1,522.0         1,440.4               5.7 
 Balance of trade      (825.4)         (692.6)            (19.2)
 Surplus/(deficit)
 
                  Jan-April '13    Jan-April '12      Y/Y growth 
                      (in millions of dollars)      (in percent)
 Exports              3,059.8         3,317.9          (7.8)
 Imports              6,025.4         6,789.6         (11.3) 
 Balance of trade    (2,965.6)       (3,417.7)        (14.6)
 Surplus/(deficit)
    - Sri Lanka's monthly trade deficit widened for the first
time since August 2012 and year-on-year imports grew for the
first time in 13 months. Exports has been on a falling trend
since February 2012.
    - Gross official reserves were at $6.86 billion by
end-April, 6.5 percent higher than $6.69 billion a year ago and 
sufficient to finance 4.4 months of imports.
    - In 2011, the trade deficit hit a record high of $9.7
billion and that compelled the central bank to raise policy
rates twice, restrict credit growth, and allow flexibility in
the exchange rate by refraining from intervening in the market
in the first half of 2012. 
    - Revenue from tourism rose 22.5 percent year-on-year in
April to $89.6 million.
    - The cost of fuel imports fell 5.2 percent to $343.4
million in April compared to the same month a year ago. Last
year, oil imports hit a record high of $5.04 billion with 5.1
percent annual growth due to the high cost of importing refined
oil products after U.S. sanctions restricted crude oil imports
from Iran.  
    - Exports of tea, Sri Lanka's main crop, edged up 1.2
percent year-on-year in April to $106.4 million. 
    - Revenue from garments and textiles, the island nation's
top exports, fell 14.9 percent to $275 million.
    - Imports of consumer and intermediate goods rose 12.7
percent and 5.5 percent respectively. Imports of investment
goods also edge up 1.2 percent from a year ago.
    - Sri Lanka imported $272.7 million worth of consumer goods,
$884.4 million of intermediate goods and $363.4 million of
investment goods in April. 
    - Workers' remittances from abroad rose 15.7 percent to
$549.7 million.
    - In April, net foreign inflows into government treasury
bills and bonds fell 16.1 percent to $144.9 million compared to
the same month a year ago, while inflows to government's
long-term loans fell 13 percent to $95.2 million.

 (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez)

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