Sri Lanka's exports decreased by 8.1 percent in the first quarter of 2013 from 2.57 million U.S. dollars to 2.36 million U.S. dollars, the latest external performance data by the Central Bank showed here on Thursday.
Earnings from exports declined by 2.8 percent year-on-year in March 2013, as earnings from industrial exports, which account for about three-fourths of total export earnings, declined.
Even though earnings from textiles and garments, which account for more than a half of industrial exports in value terms, recorded a further increase of 5 percent year-on-year in March 2013, overall industrial numbers for the first quarter showed a drop of 8.7 percent.
Exports of garments to the United States increased in March too, on a year-on-year basis, following the increase recorded in February, while exports of garments to the European Union declined in March, as in February. Agriculture products also showed a 4.2 percent decrease in the first three months sliding from 575 million U.S. dollars in 2012 to 551 million U.S. dollars in 2013.
Meanwhile, expenditure on imports declined by 16.8 percent year- on-year in March 2013. While expenditure on all three major categories of goods imported declined in March 2013, a decline in expenditure on imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products led the decline in import expenditure.
Imports for the period decreased 16 percent with the sharpest decrease of 53.5 percent tallied up by transport equipment. Consumer goods reduced by 19.4 percent while fuel expenditure shrank by 30.5 percent.
The Central Bank insisted that the reduction in trade deficit was positive and a result of measures that they introduced in March 2012.