Exports continued to record growth momentum for eight of 11 months of 2017 compared to 2016, the Exports Development Board (EDB) said yesterday.
The earnings from exports increased to $ 10.4 billion, an impressive growth of 10.82% in Jan-Nov 2017, compared to the corresponding period of 2016 as per the latest released provisional merchandise export statistics. During the corresponding period, export of services record a 5.8% growth registering $ 3.36 billion. Foreign exchange earnings of merchandise & services exports are expected to be $ 15 billion by the end of year 2017. The growth in exports was mainly driven by industrial exports (42%) followed by agricultural (18%) and fisheries (42%) respectively. Industrial exports contribute almost two-thirds of the total export earnings of the country, while 24% is from agricultural products and 2% from fisheries sector.
Earnings from industrial exports grew by 6.12 % year-on-year to $ 7,368 million in Jan-Nov 2017, led by increased exports of apparel (nearly 2%), rubber finished products (nearly 8%), electrical & electronic products (nearly 17%) and paper-based products (21%).
Apparel exports to EU market increased by 2.21% year-on-year recording $ 1,800.81 million in Jan-Nov 2017. This could be attributed to the restoration of the GSP+ facility in May 2017.
In addition, earnings from seafood exports increased considerably by 116.90 % (year-on-year) to $ 49.41 million in Jan-Nov 2017 to the EU region compared to that of 2016. The notable performance in seafood exports indicates the positive impact of multiple factors, such as removal of IUU ban on exports of fisheries products to the EU regaining the EU GSP+ facility.
Earnings from agricultural exports increased substantially by 18.40% (year-on-year) to $ 2,508.47 million in Jan-Nov 2017 mainly due to performance recorded in tea exports. Export earnings from tea increased significantly by 21.16% (year-on-year) to $ 1,386.2 million due to the higher tea prices fetched for our tea in the global market - mainly Turkey (91% increase), Russia followed by Iran and Iraq.
The top markets during the period under review were US, UK, India, Germany, China and Italy for merchandise exports of Sri Lanka, accounting for about 55% of total exports.