The total exports, both merchandise and service maintained at US$ 9,693 million during January to September 2020, as against US$ 11,784 million recorded for a similar period in the last year – US$ 17.74 million decline – with a reduced gap, signaling that Sri Lanka is for a stronger recovery amidst unprecedented global economic downturn, the Export Development Board (EDB) said.
“However, Sri Lanka is not an exception for decline in trade, reported globally due to factors such as weakened demand in the main major import markets, disrupted supply chains, capacity & logistical constraints, social distancing issues etc. On average the country’s monthly exports – both merchandise and services are in the range of US$ 1,000-1,300 million,” the EDB added.
Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman Prabhash Subhasinghe mentioned, “looking at the export figures from Jan through September, it is remarkable to see that our Sri Lankan exporters have performed well during the current global Covid-19 crisis. Jan to Sept exports show a strong resilience and merchandise and service sectors have both performed well. In the Service sector ICT/BMP sector has performed well and in merchandise exports Agri products and food products have done extremely well. We are hopeful that this trend will continue, and we can see a strong recovery through the end of the year. I commend all our exporting companies and their loyal staff for their commitment to support the national economy by bringing in the much-needed foreign currency.”
The total services exports stood at US$ 2,292 Mn during January to September 2020 with the estimated figures for last three months, as against the US$ 2,911 Mn recorded for a similar period in 2019 – a drop of US$ 620 Mn. (2%).
The service sector exports include both Sea and Air Transport, Construction, Financial Services and IT/BPM sector which covers the Telecommunication Services and the Computer Services. The services exports affected severely due to Covid 19, and the only sub sector recorded a growth is the ICT/BPM.
ICT/BPM sub sector estimated to increase by around 8% from January-September as it has a conducive environment globally with the rising demand for technological solutions and due to Covid related consumer product developments.
The most affected service sectors, are Construction (47% decrease) and Transport & Logistics (36% decrease) and the estimated performance of the sectors for the period are US$ 30 Mn and US$ 1,175 Mn respectively. The total estimated decline of the service exports is around 21% for January to September this year. The actual statistics available only up to June and therefore, the comparisons are made with the estimates for the rest of the period.
Merchandise exports, foreign exchange earnings decreased by 16.85% during Jan-September with a recorded figure of US$ 7401 Mn. Manufactured goods such as Coconut based products (US$ 490Mn), Food & Beverages US$ 275 Mn, other export crops US$ 61Mn, and Petroleum Products US$ 257Mn performed well by 4%, 2%, and 148% , 6% respectively. Exports of Spices and Concentrates remained at US$ 234Mn -the levels lifted during 2019.
However, the major exports of the country reported reductions drastically, the figures being; Apparel (US$ 3274 Mn)), Tea US$ 920 Mn, Rubber based Products US$ 587Mn and Electricals and Electronic Components US$ 246 Mn.