The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has released figures of external trade for the first quarter of 2011 and for 2009 and 2010. These reveal that the deficit this year has widened by 15.7 per cent in comparison to last year. Total exports for the year 2011 are expected to reach Rs 78 billion against imports of Rs 161 billion. This will lead to a trade deficit of Rs 83 billion.
The exports of food and live animals stood at Rs 4,973 million indicating a decrease of 23.5 per cent over the previous quarter and an increase of 38 per cent in relation to the same quarter in 2010. This is attributed to a rise of 167.1 per cent in sugar exports.
The exports of Export Oriented Enterprises (EOE) amounted to Rs 9,605 million showing a decrease of 9.5 per cent compared to the previous quarter.
The figures also show that Europe was the main buyer of local products, purchasing 64.6 per cents of our exports. During the same quarter, imports from the Asian continent amounted to Rs 19,501 million occupying 56.2 per cent of total imports. Imports from India stood at 27.8 per cent, China 11.6 per cent and Japan 2.8 per cent. India’s high share is explained by the fact that it has been our main supplier since the last quarter of 2006.
Compared to the first quarter of 2010, the import bill from India rose by 50.2 per cent, China 19.5 per cent and France 17.7 per cent.