Sri Lanka’s exports surpass USD 1bn mark in July with V shape recovery

Graph I : Monthly Export Performance 2019, Jan-July 2020

Aug 14, 2020 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s exports have surpassed the USD 1 billion mark in July after six months time period where a similar achievement was only recorded in January during this year.

Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman Prabhash Subhasinghe mentioned, “We have witnessed a phenomenal increase in exports in July 2020 with a new record for the year. Sri Lankas strategic location, its reliable manufacturing and export base and proactive and rapid action by the Sri Lankan Government to control Covid 19 have fulfilled our global customers needs. This is the reason for our remarkable recovery in exports, compared to when the crisis hit us. However, we need to be cautiously optimistic as we move towards year end due to the possible resurgence of Covid 19 in the US and European markets.”

As per the Customs statistics, earnings from merchandise exports recorded double-digit growth rate of 11.31% in July 2020 to US$ 1,090.18 Mn compared to July 2019. Moreover, earnings from merchandise exports in July 2020 increased by 20.3 % compared with the value recorded in June 2020.

This strong performance is consistent with the gradual lifting of restrictions due to Covid 19 pandemic within the country and globally. Increases in exports were recorded as; Europe Region (21.17%), South Asia(11.47%) and Middle East (8.91%) in July 2020 compared to July 2019.

Being the largest single export destination, United States of America has absorbed US$ 256.09 Mn worth of exports in July 2020 recording a 5.67% increase in comparison to US$ 242.36 Mn absorbed in June 2020.

Export Performance of Major Sectors in July 2020

Earnings from exports of Apparel & Textiles and Rubber & rubber-based products grew significantly during the month of July 2020 owing to higher demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, protective suits, surgical gloves, etc.,. PPE related exports have recorded US$ 115.1 Mn in July 2020.

Export earnings from tea in July 2020 which made up 12% of merchandise exports increased by 17.63% y-o-y to US$ 130.93 Mn and the export volume was also increased by 11.24% in July 2020 compared to July 2020. In addition, export earnings from tea recorded 1.39% increase in June 2020 in comparison to June 2019. The expansion was mainly due to higher demand for tea from Turkey and Russia.

Table 1: Merchandise Export Performance

Product 2019      Jan- July 2020      Jan- July % Growth 2019     July 2020    July % Growth
Apparel & Textiles 3226.11 2403.70 -25.49 473.52 467.04 -1.37
Tea 796.26 702.59 -11.76 111.31 130.93 17.63
Rubber & Rubber Based Products 535.32 434.25 -18.88 78.21 85.08 8.78
Coconut & Coconut based Products 370.35 356.39 -3.77 56.30 74.78 32.82
Diamonds, Gems & Jewellery 175.28 85.51 -51.22 17.49 14.35 -17.95
Electrical & Electronic Products 228.00 176.25 -22.70 32.63 32.15 -1.47
Spices, Essential Oils & Oleoresins 170.69 155.71 -8.78 26.60 41.22 54.96
Food & Beverages 220.96 218.42 -1.15 27.90 62.14 122.72
Seafood 163.98 117.59 -28.29 20.39 18.47 -9.42
Ornamental Fish 9.15 7.82 -14.54 1.13 1.44 27.43
Vegetables 18.39 15.53 -15.55 2.46 2.69 9.35
Fruits 23.75 20.23 -14.82 3.30 3.38 2.42
Other Export Crops 17.15 49.69 189.74 2.76 10.54 281.88
Cut Flowers & Foliage 11.65 7.72 -33.73 1.56 1.08 -30.77
Boat Building 63.61 1.64 -97.42 0.27 0.28 3.70
Petroleum Products 196.70 205.82 4.64 31.04 35.17 13.31
Other Manufactures 681.77 493.67 -27.59 92.51 109.44 18.30
Total 6,909.12 5,452.53 -21.08 979.38 1090.18 11.31

Sri Lanka’s Trade Performance in Major Markets

Exports to EU Region recorded an increase of 21.67% to US$ 356.64 Mn in July 2020 compared with July 2019. Meanwhile, exports to United Kingdom as the largest trading partner in the EU Region recorded an increase of 18.66 % to US$ 100.1 Mn in July 2020 compared with July 2019. In addition exports to UK has increased by 53.08% in July 2020 compared to June 2020.

Further, exports to Germany, Itally, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, China, Japan and Turkey have aslo shown better performance during this period.