Export revenue in 2019 hits record US$ 8 B but US$ 20 B full year target unlikely

Sri Lanka’s export earnings in the first 6 months of 2019 surpassed US$ 8 billion, a record for the first half of a year, the Export Development Board announced today (23 July).

However, the full year target of US $ 20 billion appears increasingly unlikely, with EDB Chairperson Indira Malwatta saying that US$ 18.5 billion was a more realistic revenue target for the year at the halfway stage.

Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama addressing the event however was optimistic of reaching the target.

“The target set for 2019 is to achieve US $ 20 billion exports which I’m confident, with the Public and Private collaboration and strong commitment, is possible. My Ministry is totally committed towards working closely with the relevant Ministries, Departments, Chambers and Associations,” he said.

From January to June 2019 Sri Lanka earned revenue of US$ 8.45 billion, a growth of 11.4% from US$ 7,588.4 earned during the corresponding period in 2018.

For the first time, over US$ 1 billion monthly merchandise export earnings have been recorded in three months during the first half of 2019, specifically in January with US$ 1,030 Mn, in March with US$ 1,137 Mn. and June with US$ 1,099.3 Mn.

Samarawickrama made special mention of the contribution of the services sector to export revenue this year.

“I must particularly mention the contribution made by the export service sector with a growth rate of 27% to reach US $ 2,512 million during the first half of 2019 from US $ 1,980 million during the corresponding period in 2018,” he said.

He said the ultimate objective is to increase the country’s exports to US $ 28 billion by the year 2022.

The Export Sector contributed approximately 18% to the Gross Domestic Product [GDP] of the country in 2018.

Photo caption: From left – National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer Shiham Marikar, Deputy Minister – Development Strategies and International Trade Nalin Bandara Jayamaha, EDB Chairperson Indira Malwatta and Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama.