COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s exports rose 11.9 percent to 794.7 million US dollars in April, while imports rose 9.8 percent to 1,603.9 million dollars, from a year earlier, official data showed. The deficit in the trade account rose in April by 7.8 percent from a year earlier to 809.2 million US dollars compared to 750.5 million US dollars in April last year. Export growth was mainly driven by the low base effect which registered 710 million dollars in April 2016, the lowest monthly export value since April 2013. Earnings from industrial exports, which represent about 75 percent of total exports, grew by 8.6 percent to 595 million dollars in April mainly due to higher exports of transport equipment, petroleum products and textiles and garments.
Textile and garment exports at 351 million dollars in April registered a moderate increase of 3.0 percent, although in comparison to the previous month, earnings from textile and garment exports reduced reflecting seasonal patterns. Earnings from agricultural exports grew by 22.7 percent to 196 million dollars in April 2017 led by tea, spices and seafood exports. Earnings from tea exports increased by 17.1 percent to 109 million dollars due to higher average prices, despite the decline in volume exported. The leading markets for merchandise exports of Sri Lanka during the first four months of 2017 were the USA, the UK, India, Germany and Italy accounting for about 51 percent of total exports.
The largest contribution to overall import growth caused from intermediate goods (74.7%) followed by consumer goods (20.2%) and investment goods (5.7%). Expenditure on import of intermediate goods increased by 13.7 percent to 886 million dollars in April, largely due to higher expenditure on fuel and base metal imports. India, China, the UAE, Singapore and Japan were main import origins during the first four months of 2017, accounting for about 59 percent of total imports.