(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – The external sector performance was driven by a double digit growth in exports (year-on-year) in September 2017, surpassing the USD 1 billion mark of monthly exports for the third consecutive month. However, the trade deficit expanded with higher imports of fuel and rice during the month.
Earnings from tourism declined moderately during the month with a slightly lower number of tourist arrivals from key destinations compared to September 2016. The moderation in workers’ remittances continued in September, resulting in a noteworthy decline in workers’ remittances in the first nine months of 2017.
However, reflecting continuous investor confidence, the financial account of the Balance of Payments (BOP) continued to strengthen during the month with higher foreign inflows to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the government securities market.
Subsequently, the overall balance recorded a surplus of USD 2.0 billion by end September 2017. Meanwhile, gross official reserves increased to USD 7.3 billion as at end September 2017 from USD 6.0 billion as at end 2016.
The deficit in the trade balance widened in September 2017 while the cumulative trade deficit during the first nine months of 2017 also expanded when compared with the corresponding period of the previous year. This was mainly due to the additional import expenditure incurred due to the prevailed drought condition in the country.
Earnings from exports which grew since March 2017 continued its increasing trend in September 2017 as well.
Minister Ranawaka while pointing out that the people living in Vauxhall area will be moving out willingly to make space for the development project, commended President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for allocating Rs. 1300 million for the relocation programme of the people. He also observed that this allocation expedited the Beira Lake development project.
Minister Ranawaka expressed his confidence that the development project will turn the Beira Lake area into a resource-park and a wealth-centre which will become a gold mine that contributes the most to the development of the country.