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Apparel exports slightly decline in March but grew by 11% in 1Q

“Despite the challenges domestically, the Sri lankan apparel industry continues to persevere in a robust manner and aims at continuing this momentum through the year,” commented Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association.

S Lanka desperately needs today a well-etched out strategy to have a robust internal system that can help it fight the economic crisis, bring stability and enable the industry and the country to regain the good old days of glory,leading members of the association said.

Sri Lankan apparel manufacturing sector today has about 300 factories that generated export revenues of US $ 5.40 billion in 2021.

Over 1.10 million people (directly) are affected by the prevailing situation in the country in just the apparel sector alone!

With no electricity for many hours a day, the country has been going through a major energy crisis – not to mention the hardships faced by the industries owing to shortage of fuel.

Also, with food prices going very high, Sri Lanka is presently battling one of its worst economic crises.

Apparel exports in March have declined marginally by 0.04% on a Y-o-Y basis, though the drop is not as much as was predicted by the industry amidst the economic crisis the country has been facing.

During March , Sri Lanka shipped $ 435.20 million as compared to $ 435.36 million in the same month of 2021, according to statistics released by Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association.

Cumulatively, in Q1, Sri Lanka’s apparel exports grew by 11% to $ 1.39 billion when compared to $ 1.25 billion in apparel exports a year ago.

“Despite the challenges domestically, the industry continues to persevere in a robust manner and aims at continuing this momentum through the year,” commented Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association in its LinkedIn post.

Sri Lanka’s apparel exports of 488 million US dollars in January 2022 has topped the pre-pandemic 452 million US dollars in January 2019 and was the highest in five years, an industry body said.

Sri Lanka’s Join Apparel Association Forum said a strong vaccination drive and safety measures helped keep the sector running and halt Coronavirus infections.

Around 65 percent Sri Lanka’s apparel sector employees have got a booster vaccine and 95 percent have got two doses.

Notably, the worst affected is the country’s apparel sector – whose export contributes 6 per cent to the country’s GDP and accounts for 40 per cent of all exports that provides direct employment to 350,000 workers, with additional 700,000 receiving livelihood opportunities as part of the well-built supply chain.

The rising cost of shipping and logistics has been a growth impediment factor in the apparel industry despite the fact that Sri Lanka has shown robust growth in its exports but the current crisis seems to be hurting the business the most.

The Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) – the apex body of Sri Lanka’s apparel industry – has raised concerns over the apparel industry’s ability to continue its operations due to the prevailing fuel and power crisis.

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