Sri Lanka’s exports to all key markets grew in the first half of 2011 helped by the improved global economic conditions. The highest exports growth was seen in exports to Singapore which reported a 74% growth in comparison to the first half of 2010, says the latest Report on Export Sector Performance for the first half of 2011, released by the Export Development Board (EDB) of Sri Lanka.
Issued by the Policy and Planning Division of the EDB on 10 August, the report stresses that the exports, despite suffering in 2009, rebounded strongly in 2010. Sri Lanka’s exports in the first half of 2011 have registered 40.9% growth compared to 2010 totalling $ 5.1 billion.
Exports to USA increased by 36% in comparison to the first half of 2010. Exports to EU in the first half grew by 48.7%. Among the key EU export markets recording growth were the UK (grew by 51.2%), Belgium (53.3%) and Italy (37.7%). Among ‘other countries’ where growth was seen were Singapore (74%), UAE (37%), Japan (37%), India (22%) and Russia (22.6%).
Apart from the other markets (45.47%), major export destinations during the first half 2011 were the USA (20.77%), followed by UK (13.06%), Belgium (5.3%), Italy (5.26%), India (5.06%) and Germany (5.04%).
“The positive performance experienced by the sector improved further during the first half of 2011, by registering a commendable growth rate of 40.9% over the corresponding period of 2009” the report added.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, under whose purview the EDB functions, identified in early July that Sri Lanka is now compelled to demonstrate much stronger export growth statistics than ever before in the face of its economic upswing and recession lessening global markets. “The second crucial challenge is that any economic growth trend, however promising, cannot go on indefinitely. There should be concerted efforts by all stakeholders to sustain the growth specially in the context of both local and international economic cycles, and other vital factors such as global production process sharing, that may pose strong challenges to our current positive exports cycle” Minister Bathiudeen stressed.
EDB Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said Sri Lanka’s export industry is well poised to capitalise on the global recovery, and adds that Sri Lanka needs to reduce its dependency on EU and USA markets by finding new markets for the long run, thereby highlighting another challenge to long term exports upswing.