Business

Exports dip below $ 1 bn for first time in 10 months

 

  • April merchandise exports at $ 915 million
  • Records all-time high for month of April despite drop

 

Earnings from merchandise exports for the month of April have fallen below $ 1 billion for the first time in 10 months, with the previous month’s export earnings being reported above $ 1 billion despite multiple local developments.

Sri Lanka’s earnings from the merchandise exports were recorded as $ 915.3 million in April 2022, which is, however, the highest monthly value recorded for the month of April. 

Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman Suresh de Mel said that Sri Lankan merchandise exports grew to an all-time high record for the month of April to $ 915.3 million this year, surpassing the previous high of $ 799 million achieved in April 2021. 

“This was mainly due to the increase in earnings from the export of apparel and textiles, coconut-based products, and rubber-based products. Further, a sizable increase was recorded in the exports of electrical and electronic components and the seafood sectors.

“We need to focus on niche markets while consolidating the market share in the US and the EU. Export product diversification must simultaneously happen so that we can create more billion-dollar industries for Sri Lanka, which we are lacking today,” he elaborated.

He added that efficient facilitation of the supply of fuel and energy to local exporters is imperative to keep this momentum going, while appealing for an expedited solution to the current crisis.

Major product sectors, except spices and concentrates, apparel and textiles, tea, rubber-based products, coconut-based products, electronics and electronic components, food and beverages, and seafood as shown in Table 1, recorded increased export levels in April 2022.

Exports of apparel and textiles increased by 22.12% year-on-year (YoY) to $ 445.79 million in April 2022. The increase was driven by both apparel and textiles.

Export earnings from tea in April 2022, which made up 12% of merchandise exports, increased by 1.49% YoY to $ 80.44 million. The export of bulk tea increased by 9.52% in April 2022 compared to April 2021.

Export earnings from rubber and finished rubber products have increased by 10.09% YoY to $ 71.27 million in April 2022, with healthy performance in exports of pneumatic and retreated rubber tyres and tubes (23.21%).

On a monthly basis, export earnings of kernel products, fibre products, and shell products categorised under the coconut-based category increased by 19.21%, 24.33%, and 52.43%, respectively, in April 2022 compared to April 2021. 

Export earnings from seafood increased by 10.58% to $ 21.22 million in April 2022 compared to April 2021. The expansion was contributed mainly by higher exports of fresh fish (22.79%) and shrimp (119.61%).

Further, export earnings from ornamental fish decreased by 17.6% to $ 1.03 million in April 2022 compared to April 2021.

However, export earnings from the electrical and electronics components category increased by 27.05 % YoY to $ 34.38 million in April 2022 with strong performance in exports of insulated wires and cables (26.56%) and electrical transformers (71.36%).