National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka

Sustaining export earnings growth, a challenge – NCE chief

The National Chamber of Exporters (NCE), the chamber representing exporters, while commending the recent achievement in  export earnings which surpassed USD 1 billion for the second month this year noted that it is more important to sustain growth amid a challenging global business environment.

NCE  President Ravi Jayawardena said the hard work of all exports who contributed to achieve a note-worthy growth in export income despite a tough global scenario must be commended.

However, sustaining the growth momentum amidst a host of hurdles in the global economy is what will make exporters smart and outstanding in a competitive environment.

“Travel and import restrictions, worker shortage  and the devaluation of the rupee are some of the major impediments exports will have to put up with going forward in a demand- curtailed but highly competitive global market environment,” Jayawardena said.

The chamber head also said that pressure on the exchange rate has adversely affected the imports necessary for the value-added export sector.  Stabilising the exchange rate, easing travel restrictions enabling greater worker attendance are crucial to boost exports and bring in the much needed foreign exchange to the country,  the chamber head  said. Export earnings topped US$ I billion mark to n in July this year, the highest ever monthly achievement with an increase of 1.33% over US$ 1,085 million in the corresponding month last year and an increase of 12.39 percent over US$ 978.2 million in July 2019.

Exports earnings surpassed the USD 1 billion mark in July  after four month where the similar achievement was  recorded in March this year according to  the Export Development Board (EDB). Export earnings from rubber and rubber finished products increased by 13.6 % y-o-y to $ 96.65 million in July with strong performance in exports of pneumatic and retreated rubber tyres  and Tubes and industrial and surgical gloves.

However, exports of gaskets, washers, seals, etc. of hard rubber  declined by 42.78% y-o-y to $ 6.26 million last month. Export earnings from spices and essential oils have increased by 11.47% y-o-y in July 2021 with significant increases in cinnamon (11.09%), pepper (7.37%), Cloves (21.11%), essential oils (11.57%) and oleoresin (45.45%).  Export earnings from spices and essential oils increased by 28.88 % in July in comparison to June 2021.

Meanwhile, export earnings from electrical and electronic products (22.7%) and Seafood (119.05%) recorded increases during the month of July 2021 compared with July 2020.

Earnings from coconut kernel and shell products increased in July 2021 compared with July 2020 and there is a notable performance in export of coconut cream and activated carbon.

Although earnings from the apparel and textile sector decreased by 3.1% y-o-y to US$ 452.55 mn in July, earnings from apparel and woven fabrics under the apparel and textiles sector  increased by 2.76% and 69.43% in July compared with July 2020. Export earnings from apparel increased by 9.27 % in July 2021 in comparison to June 2021.

However, export earnings from Made-Up Textile Articles and Other Textile Articles gained high export revenues last year have decreased by 72.64% and 26.34% respectively in July 2021 in comparison to July 2020.

Export earnings from tea in July 2021 which made up 12% of merchandise exports decreased by 12.06% y-o-y to $ 115.13 million and export volume also decreased by 8.92% in July 2021 compared to July 2020. Moreover, export earnings from Tea recorded a 7.09% decrease in July 2021 in comparison to June 2021. From January to July 2021, merchandise exports increased by 22.17 % to US$ 6,661.13 million compared to the corresponding period of 2020, following increased exports of apparel and textiles, rubber-based products, coconut based products, electronics  and electronic components, spices and concentrates, seafood and ornamental fish as shown in the table below. Export earnings from Rubber and Rubber finished products increased by 41.98 % to US$ 616.59 Mn in Jan-July 2021 due to the better performance of exports of Industrial and surgical gloves of rubber (68.64%) and pneumatic and retreated rubber tyres and tubes (44.96%).

Earnings from all the major categories of Coconut based products increased due to the improved performance in export of coconut oil, desiccated coconut.

The services exports estimated by EDB which includes ICT/BPM, construction, financial services and transport and logistics recorded worth of US $ 1,885.88 mn during the period January to July 2021 compared to US$ 1,482.41 mn recorded in the corresponding period of 2020. Estimated service exports increased by 27.22% during the period of January to July 2021 compared to the corresponding period of 2020. Coconut milk powder, liquid coconut milk, coconut cream, cocopeat, mattress fibre, and activated carbon. Earnings from the export of Electrical and Electronic Components (EEC) increased by 36.99% to US$ 241.45 Mn in the period of January to July 2021 compared to the corresponding period of 2020.

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