Despite Sri Lanka’s July export earnings increasing 8 percent Year-on-Year, the highest in the first seven months, the import expenditure raced ahead, recording a 20.8 percent YoY increase, Central Bank statistics showed.
The export earnings rose to US $ 857.8 million, helped mainly by agricultural exports which rose 21.6 percent YoY to US $ 233.9 million. Tea export earnings during the month rose 20.2 percent YoY to US $ 135.6 million.
The export earnings from industrial exports edged up 3.7 percent YoY to US $ 620.5 million, of which apparel exports amounted to US $ 372.5 million, up 13.5 percent YoY. The earnings from rubber product exports reported a 1.7 percent YoY decline to US $ 67.9 million.
The expenditure on imports during the month of July rose to US $ 1.6 billion, from US $ 1.32 billion in the same month of the previous year, led by expenditure increases in all main import categories.
The import expenditure on consumer goods rose 30 percent to US $ 237.4 million. The oil bill in the month of July surged 110 percent YoY to US $ 434.8 million.
The expenditure on importation of investment goods rose 12.8 percent YoY to US $ 347.8 million. Machinery and equipment imports rose 29.7 percent YoY to US $ 191.1 million while moneys spent on building material importation stood at US $ 98.7 million, up 7.5 percent.
The trade gap of the month of July thus widened 40.1 percent YoY to US $ 743.3 million.
The cumulative export figure for the first seven months of 2013 stood at US $ 5.51 billion, down 2.7 percent YoY. The imports expenditure in the first seven months also fell 2.6 percent YoY to US $ 10.81 billion. The January-July trade gap narrowed 2.5 percent YoY to US $ 5.29 billion.