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* Sri Lanka's trade deficit contracts 12.9 percent in December 2013
Mon, Feb 10, 2014, 08:01 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 10, Colombo: Sri Lanka's trade deficit in December 2013 narrowed further by 12.9 percent to US$ 565 million as earnings from exports increased, while imports reduced notably during the month, the Central Bank said Monday releasing the External Sector Performance review.

Earnings from exports, which surpassed the US$ 1 billion mark in the previous two months, increased by 13.2 percent to US$ 986 million in December 2013 while the import expenditure increased marginally by 2.1 percent to US$ 1.55 billion.

On a cumulative basis, earnings from exports during the year grew by 6.3 percent to US$ 10.39 billion, while expenditure on imports contracted by 6.5 percent to US$ 18 billion.

Earnings from agricultural exports increased 10.7 percent for the year to US$ 2.58 billion while the Industrial Products increased by 5.0 percent to US$ 7.74 billion.

Export of garments to the EU and US, which are the major export destinations for garments, grew by 24.9 percent and 35.6 percent, respectively in December 2013. Accordingly, earnings from textiles and garment exports increased 13 percent to US$ 4.5 billion in the year.

During 2013 Workers' Remittances grew by 13 percent to US$ 6.76 billion and earnings from tourism increased 35 percent to US$ 1.4 billion.

By the end of 2013, Sri Lanka's gross official reserves amounted to US$ 7.2 billion, while total international reserves, which include foreign assets of commercial banks up to November 2013, amounted to US$ 8.3 billion.

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