Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports in 2018 are estimated to have hit slightly high of $ 11.89 billion, up 4.7 percent from a year earlier, Export Development Board announced.
The Export Development Board (EDB) confirmed that the forecasted merchandise and service exports was $17 billion, but it was falling short by $5.11 billion from the original target.
However, it was pointed out that last year’s performance has surpassed the previous best of $11.4 billion achieved in 2017.
On a cumulative basis, export earnings increased by 4.7 per cent to US dollars 11,890 million in 2018 from US dollars 11,360 million in 2017 driven by industrial exports while agricultural and mineral exports declined.
Higher performance registered in earnings from textiles and garments, petroleum products, rubber products, food, beverages and tobacco and machinery and mechanical appliances mainly contributed to the increase in industrial exports.
Earnings from agricultural exports declined in 2018 due to the poor performance in almost all sub categories except seafood exports
Earnings from merchandise exports increased marginally by 1.4 per cent (year-onyear) to US dollars 1.033 billion in December 2018. This marginal growth was mainly due to the base effect as the month of December recorded the second highest export value in 2017, Central Bank said.
An increase in industrial exports contributed mainly to the growth of export earnings in December 2018 while agricultural and mineral exports declined.
Export earnings from industrial exports increased in December 2018, mainly due to higher exports of textiles and garments. The higher demand for garments from USA and EU supported the increase in export earnings from this sub-sector.
Further, export earnings from rubber products increased during the month owing to the improved performance in all categories except surgical and other gloves.
Export earnings from food, beverages and tobacco, machinery and mechanical appliances, base metals and articles, chemical products and transport equipment also rose, contributing towards the increase in industrial exports in December 2018.
Meanwhile, export earnings from petroleum products, which performed well during the first eleven months of the year, declined in December 2018 due to the lower quantum of light oil exports.
However, bunker and aviation fuel exports increased during the month. In addition, export earnings from gems, diamonds and jewellery, leather, travel goods and footwear, plastics and articles thereof and printing industry products dropped in December 2018.
Earnings from agricultural exports decreased in December 2018 due to the poor performance in many sub categories except coconut, seafood and vegetables despite an increase in export volumes of tea, but its earnings declined during the month.
Meanwhile, export earnings from spices, minor agricultural products, rubber and un-manufactured tobacco declined in December 2018.
However, earnings from coconut exports increased for the first time in December 2018 after September 2017, due to the increase in export earnings from coconut kernel products, particularly desiccated coconut.
Export earnings from seafood also increased significantly in December 2018 owing to higher exports to the EU market.