Sri Lanka’s exports in the month of May fell 15.1 percent year-on-year (YoY) to US$ 710 million, while imports also slowed down 6.4 percent YoY to US$ 1.5 billion, the data released by the Central Bank showed.
As a result of the easing of imports, the trade balance grew only 2.1 percent YoY to US$ 865 million.
The tea export earnings during the month of May dropped 7.3 percent YoY to US$ 109 million, while earnings from rubber products also fell 18 percent YoY to US$ 64.1 million.
The textile export earnings for the month of May too fell 13.5 percent YoY to US$ 322 million.
“With respect to earnings from exports, declining global prices of some major commodities mainly contributed to the lower earnings from industrial exports, which recorded a decline of 16.2 percent in May 2012,” the Central Bank said.
It also noted that the decline in export earnings from textiles and garments was mainly due to lower export prices, reflecting lower cotton prices in the international market.
The fall in import expenditure was led by a reduced petroleum bill as expenditure on petroleum products during the month of May fell 19.7 percent to US$ 376.6 million. Expenditure on consumer goods also fell 11 percent to US$ 301.6 million.
However, expenditure on investment goods, which consisted of machinery and equipment and building material rose 11.4 percent YoY to US$ 332 million.
According to the Central Bank data, cumulative export earnings for the first five months of the year 2012 fell 5.4 percent YoY to US$ 4023.9 million, while cumulative import expenditure rose 7.8 percent YoY to US$ 8208.1 million.
The trade for the five months grew 24.7 percent YoY to US$ 4,182 million.
Meanwhile, gross official reserves amounted to US$ 5,815 million by end-May 2012, equivalent to 3.4 months of imports.
“With the receipt of t he ninth and final tranche of US$ 415 million under the Stand-By-Arrangement (SBA) facility and the proceeds of the fifth international sovereign bond of US$ 1,000 million, gross official reserves are expected to increase substantially by end-July 2012,” the Central Bank said.