Hard Landing

Sri Lankas economic growth is expected to have fallen sharply in the first quarter of 2004 from the previous three months, as the services sector suffered from the islands political turmoil.
The average estimate of several economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires put first quarter GDP growth at 5.2% on year, down from 6.9% in the fourth quarter of 2003. The forecasts ranged 5.0% to 5.5%.rn

rnFor the full year, the survey projects GDP growth of 5.1%, with a range 4.75% to 5.4%. The official forecast for 2004 is 5% to 5.5%, lower than last years actual growth of 5.9%.rn

rnThe Central Bank is due to issue the GDP data on June 29.rn

rn”There was a definite impact from political uncertainty,” said Hasitha Premeratne, an analyst at HNB Stockbrokers, referring to growth in the first quarter.rn

rnA power struggle between President Chandrika Kumaratunga and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe led to general elections in April which slowed tourist arrivals and affected investor sentiment.rn

rnTh