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* Sri Lanka records negative economic growth of 1.6% in 1st quarter of 2020
Wed, Aug 5, 2020, 11:31 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 05, Colombo: Sri Lanka has recorded 1.6 percent of negative economic growth rate for the first Quarter of 2020, reflecting the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) said Wednesday releasing the GDP Summary Indicators for the quarter from January 1 to March 31.

Following the global trends of economic downturn, first quarter of year 2020 saw Sri Lanka' economy contracting, with the exception of the Service sector which continued to expand by 3.1 percent, the DCS statement said.

The remaining three sectors, Agriculture, Industry and Taxes less subsidies on products contracted, contributing to an overall economic downturn.

The DCS said the impact of the pandemic was felt severely, in this quarter, as the economy, which operates at the maximum capacity before the dawn of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, failed to function at peak level due to the lockdown conditions which commenced at the end of the first quarter.

“Nevertheless, the deep impacts of last year Easter attack in April 2019 on the economy continued to trouble several sectors which could not recover the economic growth prospects in those sectors, by further contributing to the economic downturn,” the statement noted.

Issuing a communiqué, on releasing National Accounts Estimates for the first quarter of 2020, the DCS states that the GDP growth rate for the first quarter of 2020 has been estimated as 1.6 percent of negative growth rate when compared to the 3.7 percent of positive growth recorded in the first quarter of 2019.

The GDP for the first quarter of 2020 at constant (2010) price has declined to Rs. 2,292,589 million from Rs. 2.330.053 million recorded in the first quarter of 2019.

However, the CDP for the first quarter of 2020 at current price has increased marginally up to Rs. 3.845.900 million from Rs. 3,773,551 million recorded in the first quarter of 2019 registering 1.9 percent of change in the current price GDP estimate.

The first quarter 2019 is comparatively a normal quarter which recorded relatively high positive growth rate of 3.7 percent, the DCS said.

The four major components of the economy -Agriculture, Industry, Service and Taxes less subsidies on products- have contributed their share to the GDP at current prices by 7.3 percent. 28.4 percent, 58.3 percent and 6.0 percent respectively in the first quarter of 2020.

GDP estimates of the first quarter of 2020 have reported contraction in Agriculture and Industrial activities by 5.6 percent and 7.8 percent respectively. However, during the first quarter of 2020 services sector activities continued to expand further by 3.1 percent.

The DCS said during the first quarter of 2020, the performance of Services sector was “quite admirable” as it recorded 3.1 percent expansion amidst the pandemic.

In the first quarter of 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak the overall industrial activities contracted by 7.8 percent.

Sri Lanka’s overall manufacturing industry experienced a contraction of 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2020 due to the reduced export demand from the US and Europe for apparel, tea and rubber products and halt of production as a result of imposed curfew in all districts of the country from last two weeks of March and the delays in acquisition of raw materials from China.

The contraction in manufacturing activities was mainly driven by the ‘Manufacture of textiles, wearing apparel and leather related products’ activity which recorded negative growth of 13.6 percent during this quarter.


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