The value of textile and garment exports from Sri Lanka increased by 28 per cent year-on-year to $2.5 billion in the January to June period, according to statistics released by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
Exports of textiles increased 47.8 percent to $156.6 million, while garment exports were up 30.8 percent to $2.27 billion. The two categories accounted for 56.43 percent of all industrial exports from Sri Lanka during the first half of 2021, the report said.
From the start of 2021 until the end of May, Sri Lanka was able to maintain a low level of Covid-19 infections, helping it gain a competitive edge over neighbouring textile and garment producers that were struggling with major Covid-related disasters.
But the second half of the year is likely to tell a different story. From June onwards, Sri Lanka’s own infections have climbed, reaching historic highs in August.
Sri Lanka’s government has rejected calls for a lockdown or curfews to help stem this rise in infections, saying the country is on track to vaccinate everyone over the age of 18 by September “and thereafter it’s in the hands of the gods,” government spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella, told reporters earlier this week.
Leading international buyers are looking elsewhere to place orders, with estimates that 20 percent of business has already moved to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.