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Sri Lanka’s earnings from exports has declined by a sharp 12% to US$ 776 million in May 2016, from US$ 883 million recorded in May 2015, reflecting contractions in all major categories of exports, official data released last week showed. Accordingly, export earnings from tea has dropped substantially by 27% in May 2016 to US$ 90 million reflecting declines in both average export price and volume of export.

On the other hand, earnings from textile and garment exports, the island’s main export product which performed well during the past few months, also declined by 4.6% to US$ 376 million in May 2016 reflecting lower garment exports to both traditional and non-traditional markets. Cumulative earnings from exports during the first five months of 2016 has contracted by 6%, year-on-year, to US$ 4.2 billion largely due to a reduction in export earnings from transport equipment, petroleum products, tea and spices.

Reflecting the sharp decline in exports, Sri Lanka deficit in the trade account in May 2016 has expanded by 15.7% to US$ 814 million compared to the same month last year.
However, the cumulative trade deficit during the first five months of 2016 has increased by a marginal 1.4% compared Year-on-Year.

The leading markets for merchandise exports of Sri Lanka during the first five months of 2016 were the USA, UK, India, Germany and Italy, accounting for about 54% of the total exports.