Exports and Imports Both Down in March

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Sri Lanka’s trade deficit expanded more than 16.6 per cent to US$ 2,402 million during the first three months of this year from US$ 2,059 million a year ago, as imports to the country during the three months expanded 12.1 per cent as against an export growth of nine per cent.

According to data released by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka during March this year the trade deficit contracted more than 8.4 per cent to US$ 762 million from US$ 832 million a year ago.

Though Sri Lanka is facing a major United State dollar crisis, the country has imported goods worth US$ 5,651 million during the first three months, up 12.1 per cent compared to US$ 5,041 million a year ago.

In March, Sri Lanka imported goods worth US$ 1,819 million, down 5.6 per cent compared to US$ 1,926million.

Export earnings during the first three months this year reached US$ 3,249 million, up nine per cent compared to US$ 2,982 million a year ago.

In March, Sri Lanka exported goods worth US$ 1,057 million, up 3.4 per cent compared to US$ 1,094 million.

The momentum of export earnings continued with over US$ one billion for the tenth consecutive month in February 2022.

A decrease in earnings during March was observed in agricultural exports and mineral exports, while an increase was recorded in industrial exports.

Earnings from the export of industrial goods increased in March 2022 by 2.9 per cent, compared to March 2021.

Total earnings from the exports of agricultural goods in March 2022 declined by 22.6 per cent, compared to March 2021, with a broad-based decrease in export earnings in all sub-categories driven by lower volumes.

Earnings from mineral exports decreased by 57.1 per cent in March 2022, compared to March 2021, due to a decline in export earnings from titanium ores categorised under ores, slag and ash.

An increase in expenditure was observed across all main categories, with intermediate goods imports contributing mainly to the expansion.

A decline in expenditure was observed in import of consumer goods and investment goods, while an increase was recorded in import of intermediate goods.

Expenditure on the importation of consumer goods declined by 25.7 per cent in March 2022, compared to March 2021, with a 13.6 per cent reduction in food and beverages and a 37.8 per cent reduction in non-food consumer goods.

Expenditure on the importation of intermediate goods increased by 4.2 per cent in March 2022, compared to a year ago.

The 13.9 per cent decline in the expenditure on the importation of investment goods in March 2022, was the result of decreases in all three types of investment goods, namely machinery and equipment, building material and transport equipment.

By Mario Andree