World Economy

Lanka Trade Deficit Up

Lanka Trade Deficit UpLanka Trade Deficit Up

Sri Lanka’s external sector showed a mixed performance in the month of December 2015 with a widened trade deficit, continued high growth in tourist earnings and moderate workers’ remittances, country’s central bank said on Friday in its External Sector Performance Review for 2015.

Sri Lanka’s trade deficit increased by 4.4% to $827.3 million in December 2015 from $792 million a year earlier, while on a cumulative basis, the trade deficit during 2015 expanded marginally by 1.7% to $8.43 billion over 2014, according to the data released by the central bank, ColomboPage reported.

Earnings from exports continued its downward trend for the tenth consecutive month in December 2015 recording an 18.7% decline, year-on-year, to $817 million. The decline was led by textile and garments, and tea exports.

Meanwhile, expenditure on imports declined for the sixth consecutive month in December 2015 by 8.5% to $1.645 billion. A large part of this decline in growth was attributable to the drop in imports of intermediate goods led by fuel imports, while the drop in imports of consumer goods and investment goods also contributed.

Tourist arrivals continued its growth momentum in January 2016 with 194,280 arrivals, registering a year-on-year growth of 24.3%. Earnings from tourism grew by 24.3%, year on-year to $322 million in January 2016.

Workers’ remittances declined by 12.7%, year-on-year, to $618.5 million in December 2015 from $708.8 million in December 2014. On a cumulative basis, workers’ remittances decreased marginally by 0.5% to $6.980 billion in 2015 compared to $7.018 million in 2014.

Sri Lanka’s gross official reserves as at end December 2015 amounted to $7.3 billion while total foreign assets amounted to $9.3 billion.