Overall BoP estimated to have recorded a deficit of US $ 692.1mn
Sri Lanka’s February trade balance widened 10.4 percent year-on-year (you) to US $ 638 million, while the overall Balance of Payment (BoP) position recording a deficit of US $ 692.1 million in the first two months of 2015 compared to a surplus of US $ 809.9 million recorded in the corresponding period of 2014.
Data released by the Central Bank yesterday showed export earnings in February increasing 5.8 percent yoy to US $ 891.4 million. The cumulative exports in the first two months rose 3.1 percent you to US $ 1.8 billion.
Earnings from textile and garments in February rose 6 percent yoy to US $ 419.9 million while rubber products exports fell 3.9 percent you to US $ 67.5 million.
Agricultural exports rose marginally by 0.8 percent yoy to US $ 202.9 million. Tea exports fell 6.2 percent yoy to US $ 108.4 million. However coconut and spice exports rose 30.9 percent yoy to US $ 30.8 million and 84.8 percent yoy to US $ 30.9 million, respectively.
Meanwhile, import expenditure rose 7.7 percent yoy to US $ 1.52 billion amid higher consumer and investment goods imports.
The consumer goods imports rose 57.5 percent yoy to US $ 352.5 million. Food and beverages imports rose 53.6 percent yoy to US $ 145.9 million while non-food consumer goods imports surged 60.3 percent yoy to US $ 206.5 million. Vehicles imports in February amounted to US $ 58.8 million, up 36.4 percent yoy.
Investment goods imports also rose 23.8 percent yoy to US $ 362.3 million, led by a surge in building material and transport equipment imports.
Expenditure on intermediate goods however fell 9.8 percent yoy to US $ 814.3 million, helped by a fuel import bill which fell 46.8 percent yoy to US $ 264.4 million.
Imports of textile and textile articles rose 38.4 percent yoy to US $ 211.1 million.
Cumulative imports for the first two months of 2015 stood at US $ 3.21 billion, up 4.4 percent yoy.
Currency swap with India boosts reserves
The Central Bank said despite foreign currency debt service payment amounting to US $ 1.5 billion, which included IMF-SBA and maturing sovereign bond payments, the country’s official reserves were at US $ 6.8 billion, equivalent to 4.3 months of imports as at end March 2015.
“Meanwhile, the same is estimated to have increased to US $ 7.4 billion by 30 April 2015 mainly with the proceeds of US $ 400 million from the currency swap agreement between Sri Lanka and India,” the Central Bank said.
Meanwhile, worker remittances in February increased 1.9 percent yoy to US $ 511.6 million.
During the first two months of 2015, workers’ remittances amounted to US $1,035.2 million, declining marginally by 2.1 percent from US $ 1,057.5 million during the same period of the previous year.
For the first two months of 2015, long term loans obtained by the government amounted to US $ 140.6 million, down 31.4 percent yoy.
Meanwhile, foreign investments in government securities market registered an inflow of US $ 20.9 million, on a net basis, by 06th May 2015.
Further, foreign investments in secondary market of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recorded a net inflow of US $ 24.1 million by 06th May 2015.
Earnings from tourism increased by 18 percent to US $ 250.0 million in March 2015, from US $ 211.8 million in March 2014.
On a cumulative basis, earnings from tourism during the first quarter of 2015 recorded a growth of 13.6 percent yoy, to US $ 762.3 million.