Marginal increase in exports : Seafood exports to EU post impressive growth following lifting of ban

Sri Lanka’s earnings from exports rose 0.9 percent to US $ 855 million in October last year, up from US $ 847 million in October 2015, the Central Bank said on Friday.

Industrial exports, led by machinery and mechanical appliances, petroleum products, rubber products, textile and apparel exports, largely contributed to this growth while agricultural exports declined.

Earnings from textile and garment exports, which account for about 48 percent of total exports, increased during the first 10 months of last year due to higher exports to traditional and non-traditional markets.

The leading markets for merchandise exports during the first 10 months of 2016 were the USA, the UK, India, Germany and Italy, accounting for about 52 percent of total exports.

Earnings from the export of machinery and mechanical appliances increased by 32.6 percent, year-on-year, in October last year mainly due to higher exports of engineering equipment.

Despite the decline in bunkering prices, export earnings from petroleum products increased owing to higher (52 percent) export volumes of bunker and aviation fuel. Export income from rubber products also showed growth mainly due to higher earnings from the export of surgical and other gloves as well as rubber tyres.

Income from textile and garment exports, which accounts for around 46 percent of total export earnings, increased by 1.3 percent, year-on-year, to US $ 392 million, mainly due to the growth in garment exports to non-traditional markets, such as Canada, China, Australia and the UAE, despite a decline in exports to the European Union (EU) market.Export earnings from tea, which account for about 13 percent of total exports, however, declined by 9.4 percent, year-on-year, to US dollars 108 million, reflecting lower export volumes despite the increase in the average export price by 14.7 percent, year-on-year, in October last year.

Earnings from the export of spices declined by 21.8 percent, year-on-year, due to lower export volumes of all major spices, including cinnamon. However, seafood exports to the EU continued their impressive growth for the fifth consecutive month after the lifting of the ban on fisheries exports from Sri Lanka to the EU. Export earnings from seafood increased due to higher prices and volumes, specifically to the EU, which accounts for about 21 percent of seafood exports.

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