Apparel exports show signs of recovery

Sri Lanka's apparel exports in August showed a slight growth and local factories expect exports to strengthen from this month (October), after months of downturn.


Export earnings in August this year increased by 8.7%, compared to August 2008.


However, export earnings from the US in August were still 2.5% less than last year's August. Export incomes from the EU on the other hand, increased by 17.0%.


"Exports should turn around from October, because the world is coming out of recession and there is also seasonal demand," said managing director of Timex Garments, Arshad Sattar.


"The orders are starting to come in. Some categories of garment exports may take a little longer to recover than others, so the recovery will not be uniform."


The Timex Group, which has 16 garment factories in Sri Lanka and is one of the largest exporters, said its order books are full up from October until May 2010.


However, prices have been forced down despite the recovery in volumes. But price recovery too, is expected mid-next year.


"Prices have come down over the last few months, but I think by mid-next year, prices will return to normal," said Mr Sattar.


Total Sri Lankan export earnings during the first eight months of January to August 2009, decreased by 3.5%, compared to 2008.


Overall export incomes from the US dropped by 12.6%. But income from the EU increased by of 3.8% during the 8 months of January to August.