Sri Lanka’s first quarter exports registered a positive growth of 16%, while monthly exports for March jumped by as much as 27%. “Good news! This is encouraging for our efforts towards $ 20 billion export goal by 2020 as envisioned by HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa,” said an upbeat Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce) on 09 May in Colombo.
Minister Bathiudeen was acknowledging the provisional exports figures by his top officials on 09 May.
Accordingly, this year’s first quarter provisional exports totalled $ 2.80 billion while the comparative 2013 first quarter total exports stood at $ 2.36 billion, showing a 15.7% Q-on-Q growth. This year’s first quarter provisional export growth is led by fisheries, agricultural and industrial exports. Fisheries exports grew by 23% to $ 71 million, agricultural exports grew by 21% to $ 635.24 million and Industrial exports grew by 18% to $ 2086 million.
Within the growth of industrial exports is the apparel exports increase by 20% to $ 1257 million. Within agricultural exports sector, coconut exports grew by a strong 68% to $ 125 million, while tea grew by 16% to $ 383 million. Manufacturing exports which includes processed foods, leather and footwear, rubber and paper and are part of industrial exports also picked up, growing by 27% to $ 646 million. Unclassified exports grew by 44% to $ 11 million.
The increase in provisional exports only for the month of March this year is led by many sectors, with strong performance by industrial exports. This year’s March only exports totalled to a record $ 1.06 billion. This is a 27% increase from this February’s $ 841 million monthly exports. The main growth driver for the month of March is ‘manufacturing exports’ which surged by 57% to $ 273 million. During March, tea exports increased by 34% to $ 154 million, apparel exports surged by 16% to $ 454.53 million, and overall industrial exports grew to $ 784 million, rising by a strong 26%.