- Merchandise exports records 9.6% drop y-o-y to $ 908.7 m but services up 7% to $ 353 m
- Jan. apparel and textiles down 11% to $ 421 m, other textiles products up 25%
- Tea up by 1.25%, but tea packets and bags decline 12.3% and 15.8% respectively
- Rubber increases 5.46%, surgical gloves up 40.43%, pharma products rise 133.33%
- Coconut products, electrical and electronic components also improve
The merchandise export sector has begun 2021 on a negative note overall though some products saw growth year-on-year whilst services have got off to a positive start, latest data released by the Export Development Board (EDB) showed yesterday.
Merchandise exports in January 2021 amounted to $ 908.7 million, down by 9.6% from a year earlier. Services exports in January were estimated at $ 353.98 million up by 7% from the corresponding month of 2020.
“Exports which started to grow since last July continued the positive performance till September 2020 with minor contractions with reduced figures from October to December 2020. However, growth in exports in January 2021 is still modest compared to the last five years,” EDB said.
It said export earnings from Apparel and Textiles declined by 10.76 % to $ 421.28 million during the month of January 2021 compared with $472.07 million recorded in January 2020. In parallel, 6.94 % decline recorded in January 2021 in comparison to December 2020.
Despite the decline in the sector, earnings from exports of other textiles increased by 25.21% in January 2021 in comparison to January 2020.
Export earnings from Tea in January 2021 which made up 12% of merchandise exports, increased by 1.25% y-o-y to $ 100.99 million. Although export of bulk tea increased by 15.86% in January 2021 compared to January 2020, export of tea packets and tea bags declined by 12.31% and 15.86% respectively. Moreover, a 10.6 % decline was recorded in tea exports in January 2021 compared to December 2020.
In addition, export earnings from Rubber and Rubber finished products have increased by 5.46 % y-o-y to $ 84.16 million in January 2020 due to the better performance in exports of Pneumatic and Retreated Rubber Tyres and Tubes (10.97%), Industrial and Surgical Gloves of Rubber (40.43%). and Hygienic or Pharmaceutical Articles (133.33%).
However, exports of Rubber Plates, Sheets Rods of Vulcanised or Unhardened Rubber and Gaskets, Washers, Seals, etc. of Hard Rubber have decreased by 17.5 % and 28.37% respectively in January 2021 in comparison to January 2020.
Earnings from all the major categories of Coconut-based products increased in January 2021 compared with January 2020. Earnings from Coconut Milk Powder, Coconut Cream, Liquid Coconut Milk and Coconut Flour categorised under the Coconut Kernel Products increased by 64.85%, 8.19%, 38.97% and 88.24% respectively in January 2021 compared with January 2020.
Being the largest contributor to the Coconut-based sector, Coco Peat, Fibre Pith and Moulded products which are categorised under the Coconut fibre products increased by 27.65 % to $ 11.82 million in January 2021 in comparison to January 2020. Earnings from Activated Carbon, categorised under Coconut shell products, increased by 23.99% in January 2021 compared to January 2020.
Export earnings from Spices and Essential Oils have increased by 115.96% to $ 42.22 million in January 2021 compared with the value of $ 19.55 million recorded in January 2020 due to the better performance recorded in exports of cinnamon (82.28%), pepper (432.93%), cloves (184.73%), nutmeg and mace (50.62%), essential oils (142.22%).
In addition, earnings from export of Electrical and Electronic Components (EEC) increased by 12.86% to $ 31.85 million in January 2021 in comparison to January 2020 due to the better performance recorded in other electrical and electronic products (23.65%).
In terms of Sri Lanka’s trade performance in major markets, being the largest single export destination, the United States of America has absorbed $ 233.53 million worth of exports in January 2021 recording a decline of 12.73 % in comparison to $ 267.61 million absorbed in January 2020.
Exports to the United Kingdom as the second largest trading partner recorded a decrease of 27.93% to $ 61.49 million in January 2021 compared with January 2020. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020 and the transition period ended up on 31 December 2020. During this transition period, the UK applied the same import tariffs it used to apply as a member of the EU. In the meantime, following BREXIT the UK introduced a new tariff regime, namely, UK Global Tariff (UKGT) with effect from 1 January 2021.
Most of the drop in exports to the UK was due to Brexit, but January 2021 also saw the re-imposition of lockdown in the UK, which undoubtedly had some impact.
Meanwhile, increases in exports were recorded in Germany (3.01%), Netherlands (53.5%), China (14.18%), Canada (39.6%) and Turkey (47.85%) during the month of January 2021 compared to January 2020.
The services exports estimated by EDB which includes ICT/BPM, Construction, Financial Services and Transport and Logistics show exports of $ 353.98 million for the month of January 2021 compared to $ 331 million recorded in January 2020. Estimated service exports increased by 6.94% in January 2021 in comparison to January 2020.