Aug 22, Colombo: Sri Lanka's deficit in the cumulative trade balance continued to decline for the seventh consecutive month and the external sector continued to remain stable with increased inflows , the Central Bank said Thursday in its external sector performance review for the month of June.
However, the trade deficit expanded 25 percent to US$ 829.1 million in June 2013 from US$ 663.2 million a year ago, the Central Bank data showed.
Both earnings from exports and expenditure on imports have recorded significant growth on a year-on-year basis in June 2013, the Bank said in a statement.
Earnings from exports grew by 6.8 percent in June 2013 to US$ 807 million while expenditure on imports increased by 15.3 percent to US$ 1.636 billion.
However, earnings from exports during the first half of 2013 declined by 4.5 percent to US$ 4.661 billion and expenditure on imports declined by 5.8 percent to US$ 9.218 billion. As a result, the deficit in the trade account for the first six months of 2013 declined by 7.1 per cent to US$ 4.557 billion.
Earnings from agricultural exports grew 8.1 percent in June 2013 to US$ 192.6 million, of which tea exports accounted for US$116.0 million, a growth of 14.5 percent.
Exports of industrial products earned US$ 610.8 million of which Textiles and garments exports earnings grew 14.9 percent and amounted to US$ 356.9 million in June 2013.
Earnings from tourism grew by 29.0 percent, year-on-year, in June 2013 to US$ 81 million while total earnings from tourism during the first half of 2013 recorded a growth of 22.9 percent, year-on-year, and amounted to US$ 565.3 million due to the increase in tourist arrivals.
In June 2013, workers' remittances increased by 23.3 percent, year-on-year, to US$ 557.6 million and cumulatively in the first six months of 2013 workers' remittances amounted to US$ 3.208 million, a rise of 9.0 percent compared to the first half of 2012.
Increased foreign investment inflows during the first half of 2013 strengthened the financial account of the Balance of Payment (BOP), the Bank said.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows during the first half of 2013 increased 20 percent and amounted to US$ 540 million.
Sri Lanka's gross official reserves stood at US$ 6.3 billion by end June 2013 while the total international reserves, which include foreign assets of commercial banks, amounted to US$ 7.6 billion, the Central Bank recorded.