Sri Lanka economy expands 7.0 pct in third quarter

Dec 19, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s economy has expanded 7.0 percent in the third quarter up from 6.4 percent in the second quarter, putting the country on track to clock up 6.7 percent growth in 2007, officials said. However, growth slackened from the 7.7 percent for the same quarter in 2006 with a downturn in tourism, a drought in the north western province which hit agriculture and higher thermal generation of power, taking their toll.

The services sector, which has been expanding rapidly in recent years, contributed 59.5 percent of the growth, Director General of Statistics, Suranjana Vidyaratne told reporters, Wednesday.

Next year, a 7.5 percent growth is expected.

With rising inflation, the GDP deflator for the third quarter was 13.8 percent against 11.5 percent last year.

Services

The services sector expanded 7.4 percent down from 8.2 percent in the same quarter last year.

Within the services sector, transport and communications grew by 12.2 percent, up from 14.5 percent.

Posts and telecommunications grew 23.9 percent with fixed telephony growing by 45.7 percent and mobile growing by 50.6 percent.

In transport, cargo handling, ports and civil aviation grew by