- April exports rise 183% YoY to US$ 799mn due to low base effect
- Yet, lowest since last Nov. when country was battling with COVID-19 second wave
- Export earnings grow 30% YoY to US$ 3.7bn for first 4 months of 2021
Despite recording an impressive 183 percent Year-on-Year (YoY) growth in merchandise export earnings to US$ 798.9 million due to low base impact, Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports fell to a five-month low in April, after contracting by 25.1 percent Month-on-Month (MoM) basis in the wake of the third COVID-19 wave in the country, according to the Export Development Board (EDB).
“This growth could be attributed to the gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions imposed within the country and globally. It must be noted that the year-on-year growth in April 2021 was largely due to the negative growth a year ago,” the EDB noted.
The merchandise export earnings in April were the lowest since last November when the country was battling with the second COVID-19 wave. The export earnings in April remained at the same levels of April 2019 when the exports were impacted by Easter Sunday
In March 2021, however, merchandise export earnings rose to the highest levels since July 2020 topping US$1 billion.
In the four-month-period, export grew by 29.62 percent YoY to US$ 3.7 billion.
In April, apparel exports grew by record 462.38 percent YoY to US$ 365.04 million recovering from record low exports in April last year.
However, in comparison to March export figure of US$ 465.35 million, apparel exports were down by over US$ 100 million in April.
The apparel sector contributed to 45.7 percent of the country’s merchandise export basket.
In the four-month period of the year, apparel exports were up by nearly 29 percent YoY to US$ 1.7 billion.
Export earnings from tea rose by 1.14 percent YoY to US$ 79.26 million in April. However, tea exports were down 26.3 percent on MoM basis.
Overall, tea exports during the four-month period recorded a 19.79 percent YoY growth to reach US$ 417.38 million.
“The higher performance is due to demand growth of UAE, China and Libyan markets,” the EDB said.
In March, export earnings from rubber and rubber-finished products increased by 151.22 percent YoY to US$ 64.74 million. In contrast to most other industries, rubber and rubber-finished exports recorded notable MoM growth in April compared to US$ 35.06 million in March as exports of industrial & surgical gloves of rubber as well as pneumatic & retreated rubber tyres & tubes continued grow at record levels.
Consequently, export earnings from rubber & rubber-finished products increased by 45.47 percent YoY to US$ 129.09 million during the first four months of 2021.
Similarly, earnings from coconut-based exports doubled to US$ 55.76 million in April from a year ago.
Meanwhile, export earnings from diamond, gems and jewellery category was the fastest growing export category recording 2544.76 percent YoY growth to reach US$ 27.77 million recovering from a record low of US$ 1.05 million a year ago.
Export earnings from spices and essential oils in April increased significantly by 85.77 percent YoY to US$ 22.46 million mainly due to increased exports of cinnamon, pepper and cloves.
In addition, electrical and electronic components (EEC) exports registered growth of 186.05 percent YoY reaching US$ 27.06 million in April.
In April, except for vegetables and petroleum products export categories, all other major exports increased fairly to substantial levels due to the low-base effect in April 2020.
The USA retained its top spot as the single largest market for Sri Lanka’s exports in the month as exports to the country recovered by 303.78 percent YoY to US$ 205.20 million, accounting for 25.7 percent of Sri Lanka’s merchandise export share in April.
Exports to United Kingdom (UK) and India also recovered by 358.97 percent YoY and 365.54 percent YoY to US$ 68.34 million and US$ 53.91 million respectively in April.
Canada was the fastest growing export market for Sri Lankan merchandise in April as exports to the country grew by record 409.57 percent YoY to US$ 22.37 million.
The European Union (EU excluding U.K) retrained its position as the largest market for Sri Lankan-made goods in the four-month period indicating 51.03 percent YoY growth with export earnings of US$ 925.95 million, marginally ahead of USA.
Meanwhile, service exports were estimated to have grown by 16.87 percent YoY to US$1.2 billion, which include ICT/BPM, construction, financial services and transport & logistics service exports.