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Sri Lanka FDI grows to USD800mn for Jan-Sept exceeding 2016 total

Dec 08, 2017 (LBO) – International Trade Ministry says exports and foreign direct investment (FDI) have shown substantial increases this year compared to last year. According to the latest data released by the Export Development Board, merchandise exports have grown by 10.3 percent during January to October 2017, compared to the same period last year. Merchandise export earnings recorded 9.5 billion US dollars for the eight months to October this year, compared to 8.6 billion dollars last year. Estimates in the services exports sector suggest an overall growth of 5.9 percent during the first eight months of the year, bringing total exports to 12.5 billion dollars. “Most notably, monthly export revenues breached 1 billion dollars on three occasions this year, a trend not seen in recent years,” the ministry said. “The EDB expects export earnings for the full year (Jan-Dec) to total 15 billion dollars.” Within merchandise exports, fisheries exports have grown by a substantial 42 percent, agricultural exports by 18.5 percent, and industrial exports by 5.9 percent. Strong performance is seen in several of the ‘priority sectors’ identified under the new National Export Strategy. Notably, electronics and electrical exports growing by 17.8 percent, spices growing by 34 percent, and boat building growing by over 370 percent. Meanwhile, food and beverages exports have dipped by 13.3 percent. By export destination, earnings from exports to the European Union have increased by 4.1 percent, and exports to USA have increased by 1.5 percent during January to October this year, compared to the same period last year.
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Exports to the ASEAN region have grown substantially, by 45 percent, to 400 million dollars (compared to US$ 276 Million last year). Exports to India have performed strongly, growing at 24 percent, from 456 million dollars to 566 million dollars during the period in review. Meanwhile, exports to the UK have declined by 1.8 percent, largely on account of the depreciation of the GBP and the consumer market uncertainty due to Brexit. According to the latest data released by the Board of Investment, foreign direct investment, too, has picked up pace. Data indicates a substantial uptick in FDI inflows to the country of 795.5 million dollars during January to September this year; 80 percent higher than the same period last year and already exceeding the full year 2016. The BOI expects FDI for the full year 2017 to total 1.36 billion dollars. The manufacturing and services sectors have seen the larger share of FDI inflows – of 397 million dollars, while the infrastructure and utilities sectors received 352.5 million dollars. FDI from China (including Hong Kong) is around 35 percent of FDI to date, while India is 16.4 percent, and Singapore is 9.3 percent. Others in the top 10 countries for FDI into Sri Lanka are Netherlands, United Kingdom, Japan, Malaysia, Sweden, and Australia. The ministry said several steps have been taken to streamline and strengthen the investment approvals and facilitation process over the past few months, and these measures have begun showing results.
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