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Sri Lanka continues to sustain a near US $ 680 million trade deficit.

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka continues to sustain a near US $ 680 million trade deficit as evidenced in October 2023, Central Bank external trade data revealed.

The deficit in the merchandise trade account widened significantly to US dollars 683 million in October2023, compared to the deficit of US dollars 284 million recorded in October 2022 as well as US dollars 378 million recorded in September 2023 it added.

However, the cumulative deficit in the trade account during January to October 2023 narrowed to US dollars 4,024 million from $ 4,377 million recorded $over the same period in 2022.

Earnings from merchandise exports declined by 11.8 per cent to US $928 million in October 2023, compared to the corresponding month in 2022 as well as compared to $ 972 million recorded in September 2023.

While the decline in earnings was observed across all main categories, industrial exports mainly contributed to the overall contraction CB opined.

Cumulative export earnings also declined by 10.3 per cent during January to October 2023 to $9,910 million, over the same period of the last year.

Earnings from the exports of industrial goods declined in October 2023, with a significant share of the decline being contributed by garments.

Accordingly, exports of garments to most of the major markets (the USA, the EU, and the UK) recorded a decline.

Further, a sizable decline was recorded in the exports of transport equipment (due to the base effect of exporting a cruise ship in October 2022), machinery and mechanical appliances (mainly, electronic equipment), and rubber products (mainly, household rubber gloves), among others.

Meanwhile, earnings from petroleum products increased due to the increase in volumes of bunkering and aviation exports, despite lower prices.

Expenditure on merchandise imports increased to US dollars 1,610 million in October 2023, compared to US dollars 1,336 million in October 2022.

This was the highest import expenditure since April 2022. The expenditure of intermediate goods and investment goods mainly contributed to this increase in import expenditure.

However, cumulative import expenditure during January to October 2023 declined by 9.6 per cent to US dollars 13,934 million over the corresponding period last year.

Expenditure on the importation of consumer goods increased in October 2023,compared to a year ago, due to broad-base increases in both food and non-food consumer goods.

The increase in import expenditure on food and beverages was led by sugar and dairy products (mainly, milk powder).

In contrast, expenditure on the cereals and milling industry products (primarily, rice)declined, compared to that of October 2022.

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