Sri Lanka’s trade deficit expanded over US $ 10 billion in the year 2018 despite a significant decline in the December trade deficit with a notable deceleration in the import expenditure, the data released by the Central Bank showed.
The December imports fell sharply by 15.3 percent year-on-year (YoY) to US $ 1,735 million while the exports edged up by 1.4 percent YoY to US $ 1,033 million, resulting in a trade balance of US $ 701 million, compared to a trade balance of US $ 1,029 million in December 2017. However, the trade deficit on a cumulative basis for the full year widened to little over US $ 10.3 billion, compared to a trade balance of US $ 9.6 billion in 2017, as import growth outperformed the growth in exports.
The exports during 2018 grew 4. 7 percent YoY to US $ 11.89 billion while the imports grew 6 percent YoY to US $ 22.23 billion.
The Central Bank said the imports in December decelerated due to the measures implemented to discourage vehicle and non-essential consumer goods imports.
Personal vehicle imports during December fell 18.9 percent YoY to US $ 77.3 million. However, the cumulative vehicle imports during 2018 more than doubled to US $ 1,573.5 million, from US $ 772.7 million in 2017.
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