Sri Lanka recorded over 5% growth in the export of textiles and garments in 2019, new data shows, thanks to growth in exports to non-traditional markets such as Canada, Australia and China.
Figures from the Central Bank’s External Sector Performance review shows textile and garment exports amounted to US$5.6bn in the January to December period, from $5.3bn in 2018, representing growth of 5.2%.
For garments alone, exports were up 4.9% to $5.2bn, while textile exports gained 9.3% to reach $284.3m.
During the year, the trade deficit contracted significantly, driven by a sharp contraction in import expenditure, the Central Bank said. On a cumulative basis, the deficit contracted to $8bn from $10.34bn in 2018.
Total exports for the year edged up 0.4% to $11.94bn, while imports dropped 10.3% to $19.94bn. Meanwhile, the terms of trade – the ratio of the price of exports to the price of imports – deteriorated by 1.5% during 2019 in comparison to 2018 on a cumulative basis.
In December, HSBC and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) embarked on a joint project to help transition Sri Lanka’s garment sector into a low carbon industry.
The garment sector is Sri Lanka’s largest export industry, accounting for nearly 40%.
The strategy will be developed in partnership with the Joint Apparel Association Forum of Sri Lanka (JAAFSL), National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC) and the Board of Investment (BOI) based on research conducted by IUCN.