Sri Lanka’s merchandise export earnings at US dollars 1,108 million (US $ 1.1 billion) recorded the historically highest monthly value, recent External Sector performance report released by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) said. However, the year-on-year growth of export earnings in March 2018 moderated as the highest monthly export value for 2017 was recorded in March. Earnings from industrial exports had mainly contributed towards the growth in export earnings.
The report added that under industrial exports, earnings from garment exports recorded the highest value for a month since November 2013 mainly due to the increase in garment exports to the USA, despite a marginal reduction of exports to the EU. Export earnings from gems,diamonds and jewellery increased significantly in March 2018 mainly owing to higher performance registered in gem exports. Increase in export of vegetable, fruit and nut preparations resulted in an increase in export earnings from food, beverages and tobacco. Meanwhile, machinery and mechanical appliances increased during the month led by electronic equipment. However, earnings from transport equipment declined in March 2018 reflecting the base effect as several yachts were exported during March 2017. Meanwhile, all sub categories under agricultural exports, except for tea and unmanufactured tobacco, declined in March 2018. Tea export earnings increased due to the combined effect of high prices and volumes exported.
Meanwhile, lower volumes of cloves and cinnamon exported resulted in a decline in earnings from spices. Earnings from coconut exports also declined during the month due to the drop in exported volumes of desiccated coconut and coconut oil categorized under kernel products. This decline came from the lower production of coconut due to the lag effect of adverse weather conditions. Leading markets for merchandise exports of Sri Lanka, in March 2018, were the USA, the UK, India, Germany and Italy accounting for about 52 per cent of total exports.