Sri Lanka’s 2017 apparel performance has matched the recent forecast made by the Minister of industry and Commerce. “We expect that the final total apparel exports for entire 2017 would clearly exceed the exports of 2016, and expect it to be in the range of $ 4.7 billion” forecasted the Minister of industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on 16 January. Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the launch event of an Apparel Industry Suppliers Exhibition in Colombo on 16 January. Apparel export revenue data issued by both Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) and Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA) confirmed Minister Bathiudeen’s forecast.
According to these latest data, the total Sri Lankan apparel exports for the year 2017 was US $ 4.818 billion, an increase of 3.06 percent from 2016’s US$ 4.67 billion. This is the highest annual export revenue to be recorded for Lankan apparels. Only for the month of December 2017, the exports were at US$ 452 million, a 21 percent increase in comparison to 2016 December’s US$ 374 million.
Interestingly, December 2017 monthly exports too were the highest ever exports for any December.
Forty five percent of apparel exports in 2017 (at US$ 2.163 billion) went to US while 42 percent headed to the EU. Year-on-year (YoY) exports to the US showed a 2 percent increase in 2017 from 2016’s US$ 2.121 billion. Still, YoY exports to EU surged by a larger 4.13 percent to US$ 2.02 billion in 2017, from 2016’s US$1.944 billion.