(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Sri Lanka’s exports grew 3.6 percent to 774.5 million dollars in September 2020 with apparel export falls made up by personal protective equipment exports of cloth, plastics and rubber, the central bank said.
Textiles and apparel exports fell 6.6 percent from a year earlier to 419.1 million dollars.
Plastic exports grew 483 percent to 34.1 million dollars from 5.8 million dollars a year earlier.
“The segments that marked a notable increase included personal protective equipment products such as plastic clothing, masks and gloves..” the central bank said.
Sri Lanka is planning to ban plastics next year and the effect on inputs is unclear.
Agricultural exports were up 10.4 percent to 225.5 million dollars with tea up 3.3 percent to 225 million dollars and seafood up 1.8 percent to 16.2 million dollars.
Imports were down 10.9 percent to 1,524 million dollars.
Consumer goods imports were down 14.8 percent to 312 million dollars, dairy products picked up to 24.1 million dollars from 8.9 million, and sugar rose to 38 million dollars from 16.2 million.
Vehicle imports were 0.6 million down from 70.1 million dollars, pharma grew 15.5 percent to 56.4 million dollars, telecom devices were up 29 percent to 21 million dollars and home appliances were up 11 percent to 17 million dollars.
Intermediate goods were down 11.7 percent to 883.3 million dollars. Fuel was down 39 percent to 883 million dollars amid lower prices, textiles were down 16 percent to 208 million dollars, wheat and maize was up 99 percent to 60 million dollars.
Investment goods were down 5 percent to 374 million dollars with building material down 31 percent to 93 million dollars. Machinery and equipment was up 24.5 million dollars to 257 million dollars.
The trade deficit was down 10.9 percent to 1.5 million dollars.
In the nine months to September exports were down 17.1 percent to 7.4 billion dollars, imports were down 19 percent to 11.7 billion dollars and the trade deficit was down 4.3 billion dollars from 5.6 billion dollars last year.
A trade deficit is caused by spending earnings from remittances (exports of labour) and foreign borrowings (exports of debt), and other items like tourism which are outside the merchandise trade account.