Jan 17, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s trade deficit contracted marginally in November 2019 with both imports and exports declining, the Central Bank reported Friday in its External Sector Performance review for the month.
During the first eleven months of 2019, the trade deficit contracted compared to the corresponding period in 2018, as a result of the significant decline in expenditure on imports along with a marginal increase in earnings from exports.
Import expenditure recorded a decline of 1.3 percent (year-on-year) and export earnings declined marginally by 0.1 percent (year-on-year) in November 2019.
The trade deficit fell to US$ 762 million in November 2019 compared to the deficit of US$ 785 million recorded in November 2019.
Earnings from merchandise exports declined 0.1 percent in November 2019 to US$ 979 million compared with US$ 980 million in November 2018 as a result of lower exports in all sectors.
Expenditure on imports declined in November 2019 by 1.3 percent to US$ 1.741 billion from US$ 1.765 billion a year ago.
Cumulatively in the first eleven months of the year YOY export earnings increased by 0.8 percent to US$ 10.939 billion from US$ 10.856 billion while import expenditure declined by 11.4 percent to US$ 18.153 billion from US$ 20.498 billion in 2018.
During the first eleven months of 2019, the cumulative deficit in the trade account contracted to US$ 7.214 billion from US$ 9.642 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2018.
Earnings from tourism were estimated 9.5 percent lower at US$ 332 million in November 2019, in comparison to US$ 367 million in November 2018. In cumulative terms, earnings from tourism were estimated at US$ 3.138 billion declining 19.6 percent during the first eleven months of 2019 compared to US$ 3.905 billion during the corresponding period of 2018.
Workers’ remittances in November 2019 declined by 7.2 percent to US$ 515 million from US$ 555 million in November 2018. On a cumulative basis, workers’ remittances amounted to US$ 6.052 billion during the first eleven months of 2019 recording a decline of 5.9 percent over the corresponding period in the previous year.
Sri Lanka received the seventh tranche of the IMF EFF of US$ 164 million in November 2019.
Foreign investment in rupee denominated government securities recorded a net inflow of US$ 46 million in November 2019. On a cumulative basis, net outflows from the government securities market amounted to US$ 234 million during the first eleven months of the year.
The Sri Lankan rupee appreciated by 0.6 percent against the US dollar during 2019.
The gross official reserves stood at US$ 7.5 billion by end November 2019, which was equivalent to 4.5 months of imports.