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* IMF projects Sri Lanka growth to remain below 4.5 percent for 2017, expects to pick up in 2018
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 12:09 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 30, Colombo: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Sri Lanka has satisfactorily met key performance criteria on tax revenues, deficit and foreign reserves set in the lender's three year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program.

An IMF staff team concluded a two-week long visit to Sri Lanka to discuss the third review of the country's economic reform program.

The IMF mission chief, Jaewoo Lee addressing a media briefing held at the Central Bank said the economic growth is expected to be below 4.5 percent this year amid one of the worst droughts the country experienced in history.

Lee said that the policy performance has been very strong and the September indicative targets were also satisfactory.

The Mission chief acknowledged that the government has had a challenging year which has led to overall macroeconomic growth being 'mixed'.

"We expect that overall growth for the whole year 2017 to stay somewhat below 4.5 percent. However, we expect it to improve next year as agricultural production normalizes as passing of one of the worst climatic conditions and at the same time many new infrastructure projects are expected to pick up," Lee said.

"Despite somewhat challenging economic circumstances, policy performance, in terms of fiscal, monetary and reserve accumulation, has met the targets," the mission chief said.

He said the capital flow into the country has improved but also cautioned the current account deficit to widen this year due to higher imports of fuel and food caused by the drought.


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