Sri Lanka trade deficit widens to 55% on increased oil imports

September 19, 2014 10:27 am 

COLOMBO, Sept. 19 — Sri Lanka's increase in import expenditure surpassed the increase in earnings from exports in July 2014 on a year-on-year basis widening the trade deficit by 55.2 percent, the Central Bank said in its latest report Thursday.

Earnings from exports grew by 11.1 percent to USD 955 million in July 2014 recording a cumulative growth of 15.9 percent during the first seven months of 2014, the Central Bank said.

Expenditure on fuel imports increased by 93.3 percent to USD 515.8 million in July 2014, mainly because oil imports were comparatively lower in July 2013.

Import expenditure increased by 28.8 percent to USD 1.845 billion in July 2014 on all major categories, but mostly on the imports of refined fuel. On a cumulative basis, expenditure on imports increased by 2.9 percent during the first seven months of 2014.

As the growth of exports earnings were outweighed by the growth of import expenditure in July 2014, trade deficit widened to USD 891 million, compared to USD 574 million in July 2013.

On a cumulative basis, trade deficit in first seven months of 2014 is lower by 11.5 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2013.

The largest contribution to the overall growth came from industrial exports followed by agricultural exports.

In the month industrial exports grew 12.4 percent to USD 699 million while agricultural exports grew by 7.8 percent to USD 252.2 million.

Textiles and garment exports grew by 11.3 percent to USD 414.5 million in July 2014 compared to same period last year.

Earnings from agricultural exports rose mainly due to enhanced performance in coconut and tea exports.

Earnings from tea exports recorded a healthy growth supported by favorable prices despite declined volumes. Exports of tea increased 8.5 percent earning to USD 147.2 million.

Sri Lankan economy aims to grow by 7.8 percent in 2014. (PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/JSD

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