Export earnings in the apparel sector have decreased by 15 per cent in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year. Central Bank trade data shows that the trade deficit has widened by 120 per cent in the first quarter of last year.
Export earnings in March have grown by 4.8 per cent while expenditure on imports have risen by 6.5 per cent. This has resulted in the trade deficit widening by 9.3 per cent to 428 million dollars. By the end of the first quarter, the trade deficit stood at 1.461 million dollars with an increase of 120 per cent.
Lower growth in export earnings in March has been caused by a comparative decrease in income from sectors such as tea and apparels. Export earnings from the apparel sector in March have reduced by 10 per cent recording a negative growth of 15 per cent for the first quarter.
Increasing expenditure on consumer goods and intermediate goods such as petroleum have caused a higher growth in import expenditure in March. However, during the month of March the importation of textile and clothing has reduced by 7 per cent, while the reduction in investment goods stands at 35 per cent.