(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –According to the latest data released by the Export Development Board (EDB), Merchandise export earnings recorded USD 9.5 billion for the eight months to October this year, showing substantial increases compared to USD 8.6 billion last year. Estimates in the services exports sector suggest an overall growth of 5.9% during the first eight months of the year, bringing total exports to USD 12.5 billion.
As Sri Lanka’s pro-growth reforms gather pace, amid an improving external economic environment, exports and foreign direct investment (FDI) have recorded substantial increases this year compared to last year.
According to the latest data released by the Export Development Board, merchandise exports have grown by 10.3% during January to October 2017, compared to the same period last year.
Merchandise export earnings recorded USD 9.5 billion for the eight months to October this year, compared to USD 8.6 billion last year. Estimates in the services exports sector suggest an overall growth of 5.9% during the first eight months of the year, bringing total exports to USD 12.5 billion.
Most notably, monthly export revenues breached USD 1 billion on three occasions this year, a trend not seen in recent years. The EDB expects export earnings for the full year (Jan-Dec) to total USD 15 billion.
Within merchandise exports, fisheries exports have grown by a substantial 42%, agricultural exports by 18.5%, and industrial exports by 5.9%. Strong performance is seen in several of the ‘priority sectors’ identified under the new National Export Strategy; notably, electronics and electrical exports growing by 17.8%, spices growing by 34%, and boat building growing by over 370%.
By export destination, earnings from exports to the European Union have increased by 4.1%, and exports to USA have increased by 1.5% during January to October this year, compared to the same period last year. Exports to the ASEAN region have grown substantially, by 45%, to USD 400 million (compared to USD 276 mn last year). Exports to India have performed strongly, growing at 24%, from USD 456 million to USD 566 million during the period in review.
Meanwhile, exports to the UK have declined by 1.8%, largely on account of the depreciation of the GBP and the consumer market uncertainty due to Brexit.
Data from the Board of Investment indicates a substantial uptick in FDI inflows to the country of USD 795.5 million during January to September this year; 80% higher than the same period last year and already exceeding the full year 2016. The BOI expects FDI for the full year 2017 to total USD 1.36 billion.
The manufacturing and services sectors have seen the larger share of FDI inflows of USD 397 mn, while the infrastructure and utilities sectors received USD 352.5 mn. FDI from China (including Hong Kong) is around 35% of FDI to date, while India is 16.4%, and Singapore is 9.3%.
Others in the top 10 countries for FDI into Sri Lanka are Netherlands, United Kingdom, Japan, Malaysia, Sweden, and Australia.