According to the latest customs provisional data the total exports from Sri Lanka in January 2020, recorded a marginal increase of 0.96% in comparison to the similar period of the previous year, due to the merchandise exports recording a drop of 7.41% and the projected growth of 26% of Service exports, The merchandise exports stood at US$ 961 Mn in January 2020, which is lesser than US$ 77 Mn, in January 2019. The figure for Service exports has not yet been released and the EDB has projected figures based on the past published records. It was revealed that only in the year 2019 the exports recorded over one billion in comparison to the figures of the last five years.
The exports earnings sectors that recorded a positive growth are from Coconut & Coconut based products (US$ 49 Mn), Diamond Gems & Jewelry (US$ 28Mn), Fruits (US$ 4Mn), Industrial & Surgical Gloves (US$ 20Mn), Areca-nuts (US$ 5Mn) & Beetle Leaves (US$ 2 Mn) whilst the most important sectors Apparel (US$ 472Mn), Tea(US$ 100 Mn), Rubber based products(US$ 73 Mn) mainly consisting of Rubber Tires & Tubes (US$ 41 Mn),Gaskets, Washers, & Seals (US$ 7Mn), Electrical and Electronic Products(US$ 28Mn), Spices & Essential Oils (US$ 20Mn), Food & Beverages(US$ 27 Mn) reported reduced earnings.
The Top markets for Tea exports in January were Russia (US$12Mn), Turkey (US$ 12Mn), Iran (US$ 7 Mn), Iraq (US$ 9 Mn) and Saudi Arabia (US$ 5 Mn).
Exports of Cinnamon (US$ 13Mn), Pepper (US$ 2 Mn), Cloves (US$ 1 Mn), Essential Oils (US$ 1 Mn) recorded reduced figures, whilst Nutmeg & Mace remained at the level exported in the last year during this period too. Cinnamon moved to Mexico, USA, Columbia, Peru & India in higher quantities, while Pepper, Cloves & Essential Oils moved to India.
The main export destinations in January were United States of America (US$ 268 Mn) followed by United Kingdom (US$ 85Mn), India (US$ 63 Mn), Germany (US$ 52 Mn), Italy (US$ 46 Mn), Belgium (US$ 30Mn) and Netherlands (US$ 23Mn). It is notable to record that out of the top 10 export destinations only three markets namely Italy, China and Bangladesh recorded a year on year growth whilst the other markets are not performing well. Over 53% of the merchandise exports have moved to top five markets namely US, UK, India, Italy and Germany whilst only 47% of goods have moved to the rest of the markets globally.
Main Exports to USA were Apparel (US$ 193Mn) – a drop of US$ 10 Mn, Pneumatic Rubber Tires & Tubes (US$ 14 Mn) and Gaskets, washers, seals of hard rubber (US$ 2Mn). Apparel (US$ 63Mn). The exports to the United Kingdom during the month of January included small quantities of products namely, Footwear, Frozen Fish, Coco-peat/Fiber. Simultaneously, Areca-nuts (US$ 5 Mn), Petroleum Oil (US$ 9 Mn), Animal feed (US$ 7Mn) Apparel & Textile Articles (US$ 8 Mn) and minor quantities of Pepper, Processed Food, Insulated Wires were exported to India. It was also noted the industrial products namely Apparel (US$ 27 Mn), Tires & Tubes (US$ 5 Mn) Gaskets, washers, seals under HS 40169390 of hard rubber (US$ 1 Mn), Tea (US$ 6 Mn) moved to Germany in considerable quantities.
"The Export turnover increase in January 2020 is indeed a positive note, however the significant drop in merchandise exports along with a significant drop in Rubber and Tea our key export items are a serious concern“ as quoted by the EDB Chairman Mr Prabhash Subasinghe"