Wracked by import controls impacting the import of intermediate goods for value addition and re-export, the country’s merchandise exports suffered its lowest growth rate in four months, growing in single digit terms last month, Export Development Board (EDB) data of yesterday’s showed.
Consequently, merchandise exports as a whole grew by a paltry 2.25 per cent year on year (YoY) to US$ 1,128 million last month. On the other hand, in the previous month June, exports accelerated by 23.9 per cent YoY to $ 1,248 million.
Meanwhile, exports last month were driven by garment exports, which grew by 21.58 per cent YoY to US$ 550.05 million last month, easily outpacing remittances, Sri Lanka’s largest foreign exchange (FX) earner since 2009. Remittances last month fetched a paltry $ 279.5 million and in the first seven months of the year, $ 1,889.4 million, down 50 per cent YoY. On the other hand garment exports in the first seven months of the year grew by 20.01 per cent to $ 3,517.44 million.
In the period 2009 to 2021, garments have been Sri Lanka’s second largest FX earner. However, since August 2021, for a continuous period of 12 months to July 2022, garment exports on a monthly basis, YoY, has been outpacing remittances.
Meanwhile, vis-à-vis other merchandise exports, tea, Sri Lanka’s third largest FX earner since 2020, however saw exports in the first seven months of the year decline by 9.24 per cent YoY to $ 694.90 million and rubber based products down 1.74 per cent to $ 605.85 million.
However, coconut based export products gained by 7.98 per cent YoY in the first seven months to $ 501.47 million, electronics and electronics component exports up 11.53 per cent to $ 269.30 million and food and beverages up 17.34 per cent to $ 248.01 million, to name a few of the performances of some of Sri Lanka’s key exports.
By Paneetha Ameresekere