Trade deficit US$ 3.5 B in 1st five months

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Trade deficit in May recorded a figure of USD 404 million, thereby increasing the trade deficit in the first five months of the year to USD 3,535 million; Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s yesterday’s data showed.

Of total merchandise imports made in the review period, Sri Lanka’s largest import category, fossil fuel imports, comprised USD 2,383.8 million; equivalent to 67.43 per cent of the trade deficit in the first five months of the year and 27.08 per cent of the island’s total import bill (USD 8,801.7 million) in the review period. Fuel imports in the first five months of the year increased by 38.5 per cent year on year (YoY) to USD 2,383.8 million.

Sri Lanka’s next highest import bill was fabric and related articles required by the garment industry, the country’s largest merchandise export, which imports increased by 19.6 per cent YoY to USD 1,404.7 million in the first five months of the year.

Meanwhile, chief of Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports, textile and garments, saw such exports increasing by 16.2 per cent YoY to USD 2,408.5 million in the first five months of the year; but, sufficient to cover only 68.3 per cent of Sri Lanka’s trade deficit. Next highest was tea, which trailed behind at USD 460.9 million in the first five months of the year, down 12.5 per cent YoY, hit by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s imprudent policy of banning chemical fertiliser imports over a  seven-month period from April 2021 to November 2021, thereby impacting the country’s tea harvest.

By Paneetha Ameresekere