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Sri Lanka’s export earnings declined by 3.4 percent in March 2021

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is a prevailing issue for the island nation since 2019, and it has been putting pressure on the Sri Lankan government to reform the country’s situation with the upcoming challenges on the way. 

Increasing debts, depleting foreign exchange reserves and other factors contributed to the decline of the Sri Lankan economy, economic analyts revealed. 

Parallel to the decline in Sri Lanka’s economy, Sri Lanka trade in 2022 also recorded a decline. The latest Sri Lanka import-export data 2022 revealed the trade values of the South Asian country going downhill. However, the upward trend was similar to the year preceding (2021).

Sri Lanka’s exports amounted to US $4.5 billion in the first quarter of 2021, followed by $2.9 billion in the second quarter, and $3.5 billion in the third quarter. The final quarter of 2021 amounted to $4.2 billion. The first quarter of 2022 accounted for the lowest value among all at $2.4 billion.

Earnings from merchandise exports in March 2022 declined by 3.4 per cent over March 2021 to reach US dollars 1,057 million. A decrease in earnings was observed in agricultural exports and mineral exports, while an increase was recorded in industrial exports, The Central Bank announced  

The cumulative export earnings increased by 9.0 per cent during January-March 2022 over the same period of the last year, amounting to US dollars 3,249 million. Industrial exports: Earnings from the export of industrial goods increased in March 2022 by 2.9 per cent, compared to March 2021. 

This was mainly due to the increase in earnings from export of petroleum products and gems, diamonds and jewellery (mainly gems). Earnings from the export of petroleum products improved due to the increase in both prices of bunker and aviation fuel exports and volume of aviation exports. 

Further, a sizable increase was recorded in the exports of base metals and articles (mainly lead and aluminium and articles thereof), leather, travel goods and footwear (mainly footwear), transport equipment (mainly cruise ships) and animal fodder (mainly poultry feed). 

However, a decline in earnings was reported in the categories of rubber products (mainly household rubber gloves), food, beverages, and tobacco (mainly smoking tobacco, animal or vegetable fats and oils and coconut milk powder), textiles (mainly yarn), printing industry products (mainly currency notes), plastics and articles (mainly plastic sacks and bags), chemical products and ceramic products. 

Export of garments to most major markets improved, though a marginal decline was observed in garment exports. Agricultural exports: Total earnings from the exports of agricultural goods in March 2022 declined by 22.6 per cent, compared to March 2021, with a broad-based decrease in export earnings in all subcategories driven by lower volumes. 

The export earnings from tea declined significantly by 24.0 per cent (y-o-y), due to the decline in both volume and price of tea exported. Earnings from spices declined by 39.8 per cent (y-o-y) in March 2022 due to lower export volume of cinnamon, pepper and cloves. 

Mineral exports: Earnings from mineral exports decreased by 57.1 per cent in March 2022, compared to March 2021, due to a decline in export earnings from titanium ores categorised under ores, slag and ash.

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