Growing Pains

Central Bank says the economy will grow at 5.5 percent this year if fiscal discipline is maintained.rnrn

Governor A.S.Jayawardene said that ceasefire and strict fiscal discipline helped boost growth to 5.9 percent in 2003 while other economic indicators also improved.rn

rnInitially predicted GDP growth rate for 2004 was six percent. However the Central Bank has downgraded growth to 5.5 percent. rn

rnThe decline in predictions is due to the drought that is expected to reduce agricultural production and energy supply this year.rn

rnIn contrast last year figures exceeded expectations. In 2003 GDP grew at 5.9 percent.rn

rnldblquote Last year it was 5.9 percent, which is higher than the 4 percent recorded the year before,
dblquote A.S.Jayawardene, Governor, Central Bank told speaking to the gathering at the official release of the Annual Report.rn

rnThe External Balance of Payments Surplus topped US$ 500 mn, the second highest in recent history, while the Current Account Deficit was 0.6 p