Earnings from exports declined by 1.7% YoY to US$ 888 million in the month of February while on a cumulative basis, earnings from exports declined by 2% to US$ 1.78 billion during the first two months of 2016.

Expenditure on imports declined by 5.9%YoY to US$1.44 billion in February 2016, continuing the year-on-year declining trend observed in the preceding seven months while on a cumulative basis, expenditure on imports during the first two months of 2016 decreased by 5.7% to US$3 billion.

Trade Balance
Sri Lanka’s trade deficit in February 2016 contracted by nearly 12% YoY to US$ 552 million due to the sharp decline in imports which significantly outpaced the fall in exports. The cumulative trade deficit decreased by 10.5% to US$ 1.25 billion in the first two months of 2016 compared to the corresponding period in 2015.

As tourist arrivals on a cumulative basis grew by 22.1% YoY during the first quarter of 2016, cumulative earnings from tourism too grew by 22.1%YoY to US$ 969.3 million during the period.

Workers’ remittances grew by 8.3% to US$ 554.2 million in February 2016. However, the expansion in workers’ remittances is partially attributable to the base effect with the lower performance observed in February 2015.

Financial Flows
The government securities market continued to experience a net outflow in terms of foreign investments with a cumulative net outflow of US$ 572.3 million during the first three months of 2016 compared to a net outflow of US$ 15.4 million in the corresponding period of 2015.

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recorded a net outflow of US$ 12.5 million up to end March 2016, which comprised net outflow of US$ 13.8 million of foreign investment from the secondary market and inflows of US$ 1.3 million to the primary market.

Long-term loans to the Government registered a net outflow of US$ 9.6 million in February 2016, compared to the net inflow of US$ 6.4 million recorded in February 2015.

BOP Position
In February 2016, the BOP is estimated to have recorded a deficit of US$ 534 million, compared to the deficit of US$ 692 million in the corresponding period of 2015.

Sri Lanka’s gross official reserves as at end February 2016 amounted to US$ 6.6 billion, equivalent to 4.2 months of imports while total foreign assets amounted to US dollars 8.5 billion, equivalent to 5.5 months of imports.