Despite a dismal 0.1 percent growth in the first quarter, Central Bank
quote s Deputy Governor P M Nagahawatte says the economy is on target to achieve a 3.7 percent growth this year.
quote s Statistics Director, Dr. Anila Dias Bandaranaike said improved rains, recovery in imports, the recent rally in the stock market, and progress in the peace process, suggest that growth will is on target.
rnThe telecommunications sector provided the impetus for growth expanding by 20 percent during the first quarter. The agriculture sector picked up 2.4 percent and services sector grew by 1.4 percent. However, the industry sector contracted by 4.2 percent.
rnSlower export earnings together with falling imports has also narrowed the trade deficit further during the first four months of this year.
rnrnThe bank said the deficit for the period shrank 3.4 percent to US$ 503 mn from US$ 521 mn recorded in the same period 2001.
rnrnExport earnings for the quarter slipped 16.0 percent to US$ 1,332 mn, while im