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SL Imports in Oct. down YoY for 8th month but higher from Sept.

Sri Lanka’s imports in October declined for the eight consecutive month, despite recording an increase, compared to September 2022.

Central Bank said expenditure on merchandise imports declined by 21.2% to $ 1,336 million in October 2022, compared to $ 1,694 million in October 2021 but grew compared to the September 2022 figure of $ 1,284 million.

On a cumulative basis, import expenditure from January to October 2022 amounted to $ 15,421 million, down 7.3% from $ 16,632 million recorded in the corresponding period in 2021.

CBSL said the import volume index declined by 28.9% (y-o-y), while the import unit value index increased by 10.9%, in October 2022, implying that the decline in import expenditure in October 2022, compared to October 2021, was mainly driven by the volume effect.

Earnings from merchandise exports declined in October 2022, on a year-on-year basis, for the first time since March 2022, mainly due to lower earnings from garments exports.

Resultantly the merchandise trade deficit recorded a notable contraction in October 2022 to $ 285 million compared to the previous year’s figure of $ 502 million.

Exports in the first 10 months were $ 11 billion up 9%. Trade deficit reduced to $ 4.38 billion from $ 6.5 billion.

Detailing November import sector performance, CBSL said a decline in import expenditure was observed in intermediate goods, investment goods and non-food consumer goods, mainly reflecting the lower activities in the economy, compared to 2021.

Another reason for the imports was the measures taken to compress imports, while an increase was recorded in imports of food and beverages.

Expenditure on the importation of consumer goods declined by 13.5% in October 2022, compared to October 2021, led by lower expenditure on non-food consumer goods.

The decline in import expenditure on non-food consumer goods was observed in almost all subcategories, with a notable drop in imports of home appliances (primarily, televisions and refrigerators); telecommunication devices (primarily, mobile telephones); household and furniture items; medical and pharmaceuticals; and clothing and accessories.

Meanwhile, expenditure on the importation on food and beverages increased by 22.1% in October 2022 (y-o-y), mainly with an increase in import volumes of cereals and milling industry products (primarily, rice) and sugar.

Further, the imports of vegetables (mainly, dhal and potatoes) also improved to some extent. In contrast, expenditure on dairy products (mainly, milk powder), oils and fats (mainly, coconut oil), seafood (mainly, dried fish), fruits and spices declined in October 2022, compared to October 2021, which was mostly led by lower import volumes.

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