Sri Lanka imports increased in November 2022 in second consecutive M-o-M
Sri Lanka imports increased in November 2022 marking second consecutive month-on-month (M-o-M) gain and rising to highest since August.
As per external trade data released by the Central Bank recently imports in November amounted to US $ 1.44 billion, up 8 percent from $ 1.33 billion in October and highest since $ 1.48 billion in August.
November data also proves the M-o-M decline seen since August was short lived. However, in comparison to a year earlier, imports were down by 18 percent. In the first 11 months of 2022, imports were down by 8.3 percent to $ 16.8 billion.
CB attributed the decline in expenditure on investment goods mainly contributed to the dip in import expenditure in November 2022. However, it said the M-o-M increase indicates the impact of recent measures to relax some import restriction measures and seasonal demand for imports.
The import volume index declined by 22.7% (y-o-y), while the import unit value index increased by 5.9%, in November 2022, implying that the decline in import expenditure in November 2022, compared to November 2021, was mainly driven by the volume effect.
Expenditure on the importation of consumer goods declined by 27.2% in November 2022, compared to November 2021, driven by lower expenditure on non-food consumer goods.
This decline in expenditure on non-food consumer goods was broad-based but the drop in imports of telecommunication devices (primarily, mobile telephones); medical and pharmaceuticals (base effect of higher expenditure on COVID vaccines in 2021); and home appliances (primarily, televisions) was notable.
Expenditure on food and beverages imports declined by 3.6 percent in November 2022 (y-o-y), mainly with a decline in expenditure on sugar and oils and fats, driven by lower volumes.
However, a significant increase was observed in cereals and milling industry products (primarily, wheat flour). Expenditure on the importation of dairy products (mainly, milk powder) also improved to some extent.
Expenditure on the importation of intermediate goods marginally declined by 0.5 percent in November 2022, compared to a year ago, with a decline in import expenditure on most of the categories of industrial inputs being offset by a substantial increase in import expenditure on fuel.
Categories of intermediate goods that recorded a large decline include, textiles and textile articles (mainly, fabrics); rubber and rubber articles (both natural and synthetic rubber in primary form); plastics and articles thereof (mainly, plastics in primary form); mineral products (mainly, cement clinkers); food preparations (mainly, palm oil); and chemical products.
Import expenditure on fuel, which consists of crude oil, refined petroleum, and coal, increased by 32.6% (y-o-y) to $ 422 million due to non-existent crude oil imports in November 2021. The average import price of crude oil was $ 98.77 per barrel in November 2022.
Import expenditure on coal increased notably in November 2022. In addition, import expenditure on fertilizer increased significantly in November 2022 due to higher import volumes over November 2021, while expenditure on wheat grain also recorded an increase.
Import expenditure on investment goods nearly halved in November 2022, compared to the same month in 2021, resulting from a decline in all subcategories. The decline in the expenditure on machinery and equipment imports was led by office machines and machinery and equipment parts, among others.
Expenditure on all types of goods listed under building materials declined, with a notable drop in imports of iron and steel, cement and articles of iron and steel. In addition, lower expenditure on railway equipment imports led to the decline of import expenditure in transport equipment.