Sri Lanka apparel exports holding up

May 11, 09 (LBO) – Sri Lankan apparel exports are slowing as demand slumps with recession but a weaker rupee and continuing duty free access to Europe enable exporters to remain competitive, a senior official said. Rohan Masakorala, secretary general of the Joint Apparel Association Forum, an industry body, said the industry would have been in much worse shape if not for a weaker rupee, lower inflation and duty free concessions.

Apparel exports in the first two months of the year showed a surprising growth compared with the same months in 2008.

In January – February 2009 apparel exports went up 5.8 percent to 515.7 million dollars compared with the same 2008 period.

Apparel exports fell in the 2008 calendar year from 2007 owing to recession in the main markets of the United States and the European Union, closure of retail outlets of major clothing chains and lower consumer spending.

“Exports in January and February show a growth, with a marginal growth to the US and continuing growth in Europe,” Masakorala said.

“And probably we’ll see growth in March also. Beyond March we expect a slight down turn, although orders are still okay.”

He said the temporary extension of the GSP Plus dut