Sri Lanka Apparel export earnings dip in first ten months
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): The apparel and textile industry, the backbone of the Sri Lankan economy, contributing significantly to the country’s gross domestic product is now in down turn due to economic set back in major Western markets, industry sources claimed.
The garment industry which was resilient even during the covid19 and economic crisis period in the island is in the midst of a huge battle of its own due to massive loss in purchase orders of European countries.
Sri Lanka’s apparel export revenue has come down to US$ 4,042.8 million during the first 10 months of this year from $ 5,952 million during the same period last year, Central Bank data shows.
Since September 2022, apparel export earnings have been on a downward trend on a YoY basis, primarily due to the economic slowdown in major Western markets.
However, in comparison to the export figures of September (US$ 333.18 million) and October (US$ 330.95 million), the apparel sector demonstrated enhanced earnings in November, perhaps signaling potential turnaround, especially with the seasonal demand.
As per the provisional data shared by the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), only exports to the United Kingdom show positive growth with earnings expanding by 19.7 percent YoY, totaling US$ 48.34 million.
Exports earnings from key markets such as the United States dipped 15.12 percent YoY to US$ 141.09 million, while from the EU, earnings contracted by 7.18 percent YoY to US$ 126.62 million. Exports to ‘other’ markets declined 32.87 percent to US$ 55.07 million.
Apparel export earnings for the first eleven months of the year totaled US$ 4.1 billion, a 19.58 percent YoY contraction.
Earnings fetched from all markets dipped with the highest contraction seen from the United States. Export earnings from that market, the largest for Sri Lanka for the year so far, declined 23.81 percent YoY to US$ 1.63 billion.
Similarly, earnings from the EU and the United Kingdom declined by 17.81 percent YoY and 13.76 percent YoY to US$ 1.26 billion and US$ 572 million, respectively. Exports to ‘other’ markets contracted by 18.17 percent YoY to US$ 642 million.
Apparel is Sri Lanka’s largest industrial export and it earned US$ 5.95 billion in 2022. The country’s apparel sector has about 300,000 employees, most of whom are women.
JAAF anticipates a decrease of approximately one billion dollars in this year’s apparel and textile export earnings compared to last year.