Tourist arrivals continued its growth momentum in January 2016 with 194,280 arrivals, registering a year-on-year growth of 24.3 per cent. India and China continued to lead the top ten source countries for tourist arrivals with Indian and Chinese tourists recording the highest growth of 25.9 per cent and 122.3 per cent, respectively, during the month. Earnings from tourism grew by 24.3 per cent, year-on-year, to US dollars 322 million in January 2016.
Workers’ remittances declined by 12.7 per cent, year-on-year, to US dollars 618.5 million in December 2015 from US dollars 708.8 million in December 2014. On a cumulative basis, workers’ remittances decreased marginally by 0.5 per cent to US dollars 6,980.3 million in 2015 compared to US dollars 7,017.8 million in 2014.
Foreign investments in the government securities market recorded a net outflow of US dollars 118.3 million in January 2016, compared to a net outflow of US dollars 29.5 million during the corresponding month of 2015. The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recorded a net outflow of US dollars 18.8 million up to end January 2016, which comprised net outflows of US dollars 19.0 million of foreign investment from the secondary market and inflows to the primary market amounting to US dollars 0.2 million. The long term loans to the Government registered a net inflow of US dollars 463.1 million in 2015, compared to the net inflow of US dollars 645.7 million recorded in 2014.
For the year 2015, the overall BOP is estimated to have recorded a deficit of US dollars 1,489 million compared to a surplus of US dollars 1,369 million recorded in 2014.
Sri Lanka’s gross official reserves as at end December 2015 amounted to US dollars 7.3 billion, equivalent to 4.6 months of imports while total foreign assets amounted to US dollars 9.3 billion, equivalent to 5.9 months of imports.
During 2016 up to end February, the rupee depreciated by 0.2 per cent against the US dollar. Based on cross currency exchange rate movements, the Sri Lankan rupee appreciated against the pound sterling by 6.8 per cent, the Australian dollar by 2.3 per cent and the Indian rupee by 3.3 per cent, while depreciating against the Japanese yen by 6.1 per cent and the euro by 0.3 per cent during this period.