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Trade deficit widens for fifth consecutive month



External sector performance extracts – July 2021

The deficit in the trade account recorded an expansion on a year-on-year basis in July 2021. Earnings from export of goods increased during the month over a year earlier, but expenditure on imports increased at a faster pace, causing the trade deficit to widen for the fifth consecutive month in July 2021. Workers’ remittances declined in July, following the trend observed in June 2021, while earnings from tourism remained at minimal levels. Meanwhile, maintaining the country’s impeccable record of debt service payments, Sri Lanka successfully settled the matured 10-year International Sovereign Bond (ISB) of US dollars 1.0 billion in July 2021. Foreign investment in the government securities market recorded a marginal net inflow, while the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) continued to record net outflows during the month. The average spot exchange rate in the interbank market remained broadly stable in July 2021.

Trade Balance and Terms of Trade

Trade Balance: The deficit in the trade account widened on a year-on-year basis to US dollars 607 million in July 2021 compared to the deficit of US dollars 209 million recorded in July 2020. The cumulative deficit in the trade account from January to July 2021 also widened to US dollars 4,922 million from US dollars 3,471 million in the corresponding period of 2020.

Terms of Trade: Terms of trade, i.e., the ratio of the price of exports to the price of imports, deteriorated by 11.6 per cent in July 2021 compared to July 2020, as the increase in import prices surpassed the increase in export prices.

Performance of Merchandise Exports1

Overall exports: Exports performed well in July 2021 despite the ongoing pandemic. Earnings from merchandise exports in July 2021 recorded an increase of 1.7 per cent to US dollars 1,104 million compared to July 2020. Cumulative export earnings from January to July 2021 amounted to US dollars 6,803 million, compared to US dollars 5,498 million recorded in the corresponding period in 2020.

Industrial exports: Earnings from the export of industrial goods increased by 1.1 per cent in July 2021 compared to July 2020. This increase was mainly due to the increase in earnings from export of petroleum products, machinery and mechanical appliances (primarily parts of mechanical appliances and electronic equipment) and rubber products (tyres and gloves). Earnings from the export of petroleum products improved because of the increase in prices and quantities of bunker fuel supplied, as well as the prices of aviation fuel supplied. Among the sectors that recorded a decline in July 2021 over July 2020 were food, beverages and tobacco (mainly miscellaneous food preparations); textiles and garments (mainly face masks); and plastic articles. Export of garments to the EU and UK region declined in July 2021 compared to July 2020, while exports to the USA and other destinations increased.

Agricultural exports: Total earnings from the export of agricultural goods in July 2021 increased by 2.3 per cent compared to July 2020, mainly due to the increase in export earnings from seafood (such as fresh and frozen tuna, fish fillet, shrimps and prawns) and spices (cinnamon, pepper, cloves, nutmeg and mace etc). However, earnings from the export of tea declined significantly, due to a decline in both volume and prices of tea exported. Further, exports of vegetables and minor agricultural products also recorded a drop due to the decline in earnings from lentils and arecanuts, respectively.

Mineral exports: Earnings from mineral exports were lower in July 2021 than in July 2020 by 6.9 per cent due to a decline in export earnings from minerals such as granite, quartz and zirconium ores.

Export indices: The export volume index declined by 4.2 per cent, while the export unit value index increased by 6.1 per cent on a year-on-year basis in July 2021. This indicates that the increase in export earnings, on a year-on-year basis, was due to the increase in export prices that outpaced the decline in export volumes.

Performance of Merchandise Imports

Overall imports: Expenditure on merchandise imports increased by 32.2 per cent to US dollars 1,710 million compared to US dollars 1,294 million recorded in July 2020. The increase in import expenditure was observed across all main categories of imports, namely, consumer goods, intermediate goods and investment goods, despite some import controls still being in place. On a cumulative basis, total import expenditure from January to July 2021 amounted to US dollars 11,725 million, compared to US dollars 8,968 million recorded in the corresponding period in 2020. (CBSL)

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Exterminators PLC certified as great place to work



Travis Ferreira, Executive Director, ‘Extermina tors PLC’, receiving the certificate from the GPTW team

Exterminators PLC announces that it has been certified as a Great Place to Work for the second year in a row. This achievement reaffirms our commitment to creating an environment that fosters learning, development, and success for our staff members. The certification was awarded after an independent audit and certification process conducted by the renowned organisation Great Place to Work (GPTW), which evaluated our company across various focus areas. Exterminators PLC excelled in the Trust Index, scoring high points in all focus areas during the certification process.

“The challenges we faced over the past twelve months were unprecedented. We are proud of our coworkers, who kept our business operating without interruption by working collaboratively and courageously and leaning on our collective creativity, innovation, and passion. Our slogan was ‘How can we’ keep the promise we made? and we constantly innovated to get the job done, no matter how difficult it was.

We are grateful to our coworkers who collaborated with us during these most challenging times and for their pure commitment and loyalty towards Exterminators PLC, which kept us moving forward despite unprecedented obstacles.” Marlon Ferreira the Managing Director said.

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SLT-MOBITEL mTunes introduces ‘Be a Millionaire’ promo



Bringing elevated lifestyle experiences, SLT-MOBITEL is offering users the ultimate chance to turn music into wealth with its new ‘Be a Millionaire’ promo on mTunes.mTunes is a digital lifestyle service that allows customers to personalise their Caller Ring Back Tone (CRBT) with their favourite songs or audio content. It adds a unique and personalised touch to phone calls, allowing customers to express their originality and preferences with their loved ones.

With a vast collection of songs on the mTunes platform, the ‘Be a Millionaire’ promo offers users the opportunity to connect with their hearts’ content and win big cash prizes. From September 1st to November 30th, 2023, the ‘Be a Millionaire’ promo on mTunes promises incredible prizes for lucky participants. The grand prize is an amazing Rupees One million (Rs. 1,000,000) with additional rewards of Rs. 100,000 for the second winner and Rs. 50,000 for the third place. But the path to wealth does not end; seven more lucky winners will receive Rs. 10,000 each, and every week, there will be twelve lucky winners of Rs. 10,000 each in cash prizes.

Participating in the promotion is easy. Existing and new CRBT users have the chance to win these fantastic prizes, including becoming millionaires, by simply activating more mTunes during the promotional period. With multiple cash prizes available, there are numerous opportunities to win every week. The ‘Be a Millionaire’ promotion is a golden opportunity to make dreams come true.

Users can increase their chances of winning by simply activating more mTunes daily. Users can also experience the fun, excitement, and entertainment offered by mTunes and enjoy the world of music.

For more information, contact mTunes at 777 or visit

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Lanka can build strong tourism ‘eco-brand’: UN official



United Nations Resident Representative to Sri Lanka, Azusa Kobota


ECONOMYNEXT –Sri Lanka can build an ‘eco-brand’ catering especially to younger tourists who feel strongly about the environment, United Nations Resident Representative to Sri Lanka, Azusa Kobota said.

About 70 percent of global travellers prioritise sustainability in their holiday choices, marking a ten percent increase from 2021, while around 30 percent of travellers feel guilty about flying, due to carbon emissions, she said.

“As the world embraces green thinking during this time of economic recovery efforts, the objective of the tourism sector cannot simply be about increasing the number of inbound tourists,” Kobota said at an event marking World Tourism Day in Colombo.

“It has to be about enhancing their experience through green lenses, by implementing a responsible, eco-conscious paradigm for the sector and building a stronger eco-brand around the sustainable agenda for Sri Lanka,”

“This is no longer about reducing the trade offs between growing the industry and protecting the environment.

“We must see nature as our asset and solutions to be obtained for the exponential growth for our future generations.”

The sustainable tourism market is estimated to have earned 195 billion US dollars in 2022, and is expected to reach about 656 billion US dollars in 2032, she said.

“Tourists, particularly the younger generations from gen X,Y,Z are deeply, deeply conscious about the long term choices of their actions, and the adverse impact of tourists on the environment.

“Statistics show that a significant proportion of global travellers, about 30 percent, feel guilty about flying due to the environmental impact and 22 percent say they actively prefer public transport and bicycle rental options, over renting a car.”

Sri Lanka welcomed one million tourists by September 26 and is expecting more that 1.5 million tourists by the end of the year.

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