Jun 01, 2018 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s overall exports were up by 6.3 percent to US 1.1 billion dollars with an increase in industrial exports, data from the Central Bank showed Thursday.
Performance of merchandise exports in March 2018, merchandise export earnings at US 1,108 million dollars,
recorded the historically highest monthly value.
The year-on-year growth of export earnings in March 2018 moderated as the highest monthly export value for 2017 was recorded in March. Earnings from industrial exports mainly contributed towards the growth in export earnings.
Under industrial exports, earnings from garment exports recorded the highest value for a month since November 2013 mainly due to the increase in garment exports to the USA, despite a marginal reduction of exports to the EU.
Export earnings from gems, diamonds and jewellery increased significantly in March 2018 mainly owing to higher
performance registered in gem exports with.
Apparel exports were up 7.4 percent to US 486 million dollars with rubber products up 11.8 percent to 85.8 million dollars.
Increase in export of vegetable, fruit and nut preparations resulted in an increase in export earnings from food, beverages and tobacco.
However, agricultural exports fell 5.6 percent to US 138.5 million dollars with rubber, coconut and spice shipments also falling.
Meanwhile, machinery and mechanical appliances increased during the month led by electronic equipment. However, earnings from transport equipment declined in March 2018 reflecting the base effect as several yachts were exported
during March 2017.
All sub categories under agricultural exports, except for tea and unmanufactured tobacco, declined in March 2018. Tea export earnings increased due to the combined effect of high prices and volumes exported.
Lower volumes of cloves and cinnamon exported resulted in a decline in earnings from spices. Earnings from coconut exports also declined during the month due to the drop in exported volumes of desiccated coconut and coconut oil categorised under kernel products.
This decline came from the lower production of coconut due to the lag effect of adverse weather conditions. Leading markets for merchandise exports of Sri Lanka, in March 2018, were the USA, the UK, India, Germany and Italy accounting for about 52 per cent of total exports.
“The external sector displayed a mixed performance in March 2018. Even though expenditure on imports continued to increase, exports which peaked to historic high levels in March 2018, contributed to a lower trade deficit vis-a-vis the previous two months of the year,” the CB statement said.
Earnings from tourism increased notably in March 2018 continuing the positive trend observed since January 2018.
Workers’ remittances rose during the month reversing the decline recorded in February 2018. Meanwhile, the financial account of the Balance of Payments (BOP) experienced some outflows in March, particularly with the withdrawal of foreign investments from the government securities market and the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE).