- Central Bank attributes drop to third wave and festive holidays
Earnings recorded from merchandise exports for the month of April 2021 are over 25% lower than the export earnings of $ 1,094 million recorded in March 2021, reflecting the impact of the beginning of the third wave of the pandemic and the festive holiday related developments in April, Central Bank of Sri Lanka noted.
However, earnings from merchandise exports in April 2021 increased by 189.8% to $ 818 million, from a significantly low value of $ 282 million recorded in April 2020 amidst the island-wide lockdown measures due to the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The deficit in the trade account widened for the second consecutive month in April 2021 to $ 889 million compared to the deficit of $ 840 million recorded in April 2020 and $ 832 million in March 2021. Both exports and imports were significantly higher in April 2021, compared to the lockdown period in April 2020, although both were lower compared to March 2021.
Meanwhile, the cumulative deficit in the trade account during January-April 2021 widened to $ 2,948 million from $ 2,693 million recorded over the same period in 2020.
Expenditure on merchandise imports in April 2021 increased by 52.1% to $ 1,707 million from a low import expenditure of $ 1,123 million recorded in April 2020, when the effects of the first wave of the pandemic and low global petroleum prices were present.
The year-on-year increase in the import expenditure was driven by the increase in imports of intermediate and investment goods. However, import expenditure in April 2021 was considerably lower (by 11.4%) compared to March 2021 ($ 1,926 million), although import values in both March 2021 and April 2021 were higher than pre-pandemic levels.