April trade deficit widens 15 percent

26 June 2015 03:12 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lanka’s trade deficit in April widened 15.1 percent year-on-year US $ 783 million, with imports led by consumer and investment goods speeding up ahead of lagging exports earnings.  

On a cumulative basis, trade deficit during the first four months of 2015 increased 3.9 percent to US $ 2,713 million.

The export earnings in April fell 7.4 percent yoy to US $ 708 million, recording the lowest monthly earnings after April 2013, the Central Bank data showed.

 Both industrial and agricultural exports fell 7 percent and 8.8 percent respectively.  Apparel products which accounted for over 45 percent of total export earnings fell 2 percent yoy to US $ 330.2 million. 

Earnings from rubber products, mainly comprising of tyres, fell 16.2 percent yoy to US $ 48.5 million. Gem, diamonds and jewellery exports also fell 19.1 percent yoy to US $ 25.6 million.

Earnings from bunkering operations fell 42.7 percent yoy to Rs.18.5 million. Affected by lower demand from Russia and Middle East, tea export earnings in April fell 12.7 percent yoy to US $  102 million. 

The cumulative earnigs in the first four months fell 13.2 percent yoy to US $ 437.4 million. 

The EU ban on Lankan fisheries products resulted in sea food export earnings falling 14.1 percent yoy to US $ 14.1 million. The cumulative export earnings fell as much as 37.1 percent yoy to US $ 57.5 million. 

Meanwhile, the expenditure on imports in April rose 3.2 percent yoy to US $ 1490.5 million with consumer and investment goods imports rising 42.5 percent and 22.1 percent, respectively.

Import expenditure on non-food consumer goods rose 46.3 percent yoy to US $ 227 million, led by vehicle imports which surged 96.1 percent yoy to US $ 94.4 million.

Food and beverages imports also rose 37 percent yoy to US $ 108.8 million.

Intermediate goods exports fell 15 percent yoy to US $ 756.1 million, owing to lower oil prices. April’s oil bill fell 32.8 percent yoy to US $ 212.6 million. 
The Central Bank said the government didn’t import crude oil during April. 

Expenditure on wheat and maize imports slumped 84.8 percent yoy to US $ 9.9 million, as the import volumes fell. 

Import expenditure on investment goods rose 22.1 percent yoy to US $ 353.2 million led by higher machinery and transport equipment.

The cumulative imports in the first four months rose 1.5 percent yoy to US $ 6, 282.5 million.




Foreign reserves up, records BOP deficit 
The Central Bank said currency swaps and latest sovereign bond proceeds had boosted the foreign reserves to US $ 7.6 billion, equivalent to 5.6 months of imports by June. However, during the first four months of 2015, the overall BOP is estimated to have recorded a deficit of US $ 1,024.7 million compared to a surplus of US $ 1,544.6 million recorded during the corresponding period of 2014.
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