- First half apparel exports earnings amount to US$ 1.83bn down from US$ 2.62bn a year ago
- US retains top export market position despite 27% drop in exports during first half
- PPE exports to the US boost earnings in June; BOI says US$ 500mn worth PPE orders
- Apparel exporters estimate US$ 1.5bn hit to earnings this year from US$ 5.6bn in 2019
Sri Lanka’s apparel exports contracted by US$ 785 million or 30 percent year-on-year (YoY) during the first half of 2020 hit by COVID-19 pandemic related economic malaise, Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association’s (SLAEA) data showed.
Accordingly, the country earned US$ 1.83 billion from apparel exports during the first half of the year compared to apparel exports earnings of US$ 2.62 billion during the same period last year.
The United States (US) retained its position as the top market for the country’s apparel exports despite 27 percent YoY drop in exports during
Sri Lanka’s apparel exports to US amounted to US$ 830.49 million in the period backed by personal protective equipment (PPE) exports.
Apparel exports under HS Chapter 63, which include some of the PPE to the US, jumped to US$ 69.13 million in the period from US$ 13.37 million a year back.In June, in particular, exports under HS Chapter 63 reached US$ 49.53 million compared to US$ 2.37 million in June 2019.
The BOI earlier said the country has attracted over US$ 500 million worth orders for PPE production, which could likely to increase up to the US$ 1 billion mark. However, according to apparel exporters, PPE orders have started to slow down.
Meanwhile, apparel exports to the European Union declined by nearly 32 percent YoY in the first half of the year reaching US$ 752.88 million. The exports under HS Chapter 63 remained almost unchanged to EU during the period.
However, there was an increase in exports under HS Chapter 63 in June to EU, which reached US$ 7.72 million compared to US$ 4.86 million in June 2019. During the period, apparel exports to US and EU accounted for over 86 percent of the country’s overall apparel exports, slightly up from 85.6 percent a year ago.
The apparel sector generated US$ 5.6 billion worth exports in 2019 and the industry is expecting a US$1.5 billion hit to apparel export earnings this year.