The Central Bank said yesterday 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.
On a cumulative basis, the trade deficit widened marginally during 2015, while earnings from tourism increased significantly. Meanwhile, workers’ remittances recorded a marginal decline in 2015.
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, led by textile and garments and tea exports.
Deviating from the normal seasonal trend of increased expenditure on imports towards the end of the year, expenditure on imports weakened for the sixth consecutive month in December 2015 by 8.5% to $1,645 million, year-on-year.
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. In December 2015, expenditure on fuel imports decreased by 15.5%, year-on-year, to $216 million mainly due to the considerable decline in import prices.
In line with the downward movement in international oil prices, average import price of crude oil dropped to $41.21 per barrel in December 2015, compared to $75.98 per barrel recorded in December 2014.
The deficit in the trade account increased to $827 million in December 2015, compared to $792 million in December 2014. On a cumulative basis, the trade deficit during 2015 expanded marginally by 1.7% to $8,430 million over 2014.