Trade balance drops to US$ 617 m in January | Sunday Observer

Trade balance drops to US$ 617 m in January

Sri Lanka has recorded significant growth in its external sector performance in January 2019, where the trade balance of exports and imports dropped to USD 617 million during the month, a media release from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) stated last week.

This was a momentous upgrade of the trade balance, whereas December 2018 recorded a trade balance of USD 701 million and January last year there was a trade balance of USD 1,049 million.

Combined better performance of imports and exports i.e. decrease of expenses in terms of imports and revenue increase of exports had contributed to the January growth. During the month, import expenditure had declined by 7.5 per cent while export revenue had increased by 17.8 per cent. Industrial exports including textiles and garments had recorded a 79.6 per cent share of the export basket where agricultural products including tea, rubber and coconut recoeded a 20 per cent share. However, workers’ remittances in January 2019 has reduced sharply compared to January 2018, amounting to USD 545 million.

Compared to the significant pressure on the exchange rate witnessed in the latter part of 2018, it eased with a notable reversal during January 2019.

Accordingly, the rupee appreciated by 1.6 per cent in January 2019 from Rs. 182.75 per US dollar at end December 2018 to Rs. 179.88 by end of January 2019.