Wednesday, 16 October 2019 08:40

Sri Lanka’s imports down in August driven by lower volume and prices

Sri Lanka’s imports fell 16.6 percent from a year earlier to 1,574 million US dollars in the August 2019, for the tenth consecutive month registering a decline across all major categories of imports, official data showed.

The import volume index dropped by 9.3 per cent while the unit value index dropped by 8.0 per cent indicating that the decline in imports was driven by the combined effect of lower volume and prices when compared to August 2018, Central Bank officials revealed.

Expenditure on consumer goods imports declined in August 2019 reflecting the reduction in both food and beverages and non-food consumer goods imports.

Lower imports of spices, dairy products, vegetables and seafood mainly contributed to the decline in imports of food and beverages while lower imports of personal motor vehicles resulted in the contraction in non-food consumer goods imports.

Import expenditure on personal motor vehicles declined by 46.2 per cent, year-on-year, continuing the trend observed since December 2018 despite an increase seen in July 2019 over the preceding months, reflecting the impact of a backlog of a concessionary permits being used for importing vehicles.

However, expenditure on sugar and confectionary, medical and pharmaceuticals, cereals and milling industry products imports has increased during August 2019.

Expenditure on imports of intermediate goods reduced in August 2019 mainly due to lower expenditure on petroleum products as a result of lower import volumes and prices. Expenditure on textiles and textile articles, chemical products, paper and paperboard and articles thereof and mineral products also declined.

However, expenditure on fertiliser imports increased by more than two-fold on a year-on-year basis in August 2019 due to higher volumes imported targeting the coming Maha season while import of base metals and wheat and maize also increased.

Imports of investment goods declined in August 2019 due to lower imports of machinery and equipment and building material. However, transport equipment increased significantly mainly driven by the importation of railway equipment.


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