According to Customs monthly provisional exports statistics, merchandize export earnings have recorded a historical decrease by nearly 64% to US $ 277.4 Mn from US $ 772.57 Mn documented in April 2019.
Apparel sector has shown a sharp decline (-82%) during the month of April 2020 compared to the same month in the previous year. Other selected sectors that has recorded a significant decline during the same period includes; Tea (-21%), Coconut products (-35.2%), Rubber Products (-53%), Food & Beverages (-44%), Spices (-24%), Electronics & Electronic Components (-63%), Petroleum Products (-63%), Seafood (-72%) and Base Metal Products (-49%).
However analysis at disaggregate level on Vegetable Plaiting Materials and Vegetable Products, Tamarind, Areca Nuts, Ginger, Oleoresins, Onions, Instant Tea, Coconut Husk Chips, Essential Oils, Coconut Shell Charcoal, Kiri Ala, Green Gram, Melons & Papayas, Other Natural Rubber, Gherkins, Organic Chemicals etc… show a positive growth during April 2020 compared to April 2019.
January – April 2020
With the release of April 2020 Customs provisional data, the country’s foreign exchange earnings show an overall decline of 26 %during January-April 2020 in comparison to the same period in 2019 reaching US $ 3,884.28 Mn from US $ 5,269.28 Mn respectively, recording a 36% achievement against the annual revised target of US$ 10,750 Mn for the year 2020.
Merchandise export earnings have recorded US$ 2,853 million during Jan- April 2020, compared to US$ 3,888 million last year. Estimates in the services exports of ICT/ BPM, Construction, Financial services, Logistics and Wellness Tourism sectors show an overall achievement of US $ 1,030 million during the period compared to US $ 1,381 million last year.
Largest contributor during January- April is Apparel & Textiles and it has declined by 28% compared to the same period in the previous year. Only Petroleum Products sector (11%) and Other Export Crops sector (53.52%) show positive growth rate during January- April 2020 with respect to January- April 2019. Tea(-22%), Rubber & Rubber Finished Products (-23%), Coconut Products (-19%), Electronics & Electronic Components (-28%), Food & Beverages (-29%) ,Seafood (-39%) ,Spices (-34%), Diamonds ,Gems & Jewellery (-48%) and etc show significant declining growth rates during January-April period in 2020 compared to previous year.
When looking at the disaggregate level of products, even though some of the major sectors show a decline in earnings, certain other sectors show a positive growth during the period under consideration. The following graph shows some sectors with negative growth.
Further, sectors that show a positive growth at disaggregate level includes export of Onions (2133%), Areca Nuts (733%), Other Nuts (700%), Works of Art, Collectors Pieces (700%), Other Petroleum Products (500%), Tamarind (344%), Garlic (300%), Sweat Potatoes (300%), Ginger (175%). Lentils (106%), Coconut Vinegar (100%) and etc
It is also evident that products such as Pineapples, Coconut Ekels, Manioc, Sugars, Sugar Confectionery & Bakery Products, Industrial & Surgical Gloves of Rubber, Instant Tea, Other Spices and Spice Mixtures, Liquid Coconut Milk, Gherkins, Coconut Cream show a very marginal decline during this year.
Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman Prabhash Subasinghe mentioned, “It is understood that we are witnessing a decline in exports during the month of April 2020 which is mainly caused by the shutdown of many operations due to the prevailing COVID 19 crisis and also to the fact that the Sri Lankan Government taking strict measures in controlling the situation. Furthermore, the overall results from Jan to April also reflects a decline in global demand of goods due to the global economic impact caused by the prevailing Pandemic situation in the world. EDB is taking continuous measures and working closely with the exporters to resolve their ongoing issues as well as finding new markets and new products to meet the current market needs created by Covid 19.”