The trade deficit declined significantly in December 2018 (year-on-year) with a notable deceleration in import expenditure, data shows.
Exports grew by 1.4 percent while imports fell by 15.3 percent in December 2018 (year-on-year), the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said.
Total exports of goods grew by 4.7 per cent in 2018 to US dollars 11.9 billion while imports recorded a growth of 6.0 per cent to US dollars 22.2 billion.
Consequently, the trade deficit widened moderately to US dollars 10.3 billion in 2018 from US dollars 9.6 billion in 2017.
Earnings from tourism remained healthy with a 4.8 per cent (year-on-year) growth in December 2018, resulting in a total income of US dollars 4.4 billion in 2018, a growth of 11.6 per cent from 2017.
Workers’ remittances recorded a marginal decline of 2.1 per cent in 2018 to US dollars 7.0 billion, including the drop of 13.0 per cent in December 2018.
In the financial account, the government securities market and the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recorded outflows in December 2018.
The pressure on the exchange rate subsided during the latter part of December 2018, reflecting mainly the improvement in the trade balance.
Gross official reserves stood at US dollars 6.9 billion as at end 2018.