Sri Lanka GDP growth slows to 1.5-pct in 2009 first quarter

June 17, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s economic growth slowed to 1.5 percent in the first quarter of the 2009, against 6.2 in 2008 and 4.3 percent in the December quarter, officials said.

Passenger kilometres flown by Sri Lankan Airlines had fallen 25.0 percent, railway passenger kilometres fell 7.7 percent, while in state bus service it fell 6.4 percent.

Cargo handling had fallen 12.1 percent. Telecoms had grown 10.1 percent against 22.5 percent. Tourism earnings had fallen 16.9 percent.

Banking services had grown 3.8 percent against 5.7 percent.

Agriculture

In agriculture, paddy production had increased by 10.1 percent, tea contracted 40.9 percent and rubber expanded 2.6 percent against.

“Dry weather was good for rubber but lower international prices discouraged tapping,” head of the national accounts division Nalini Kumarasinghe said.

“The increased rice production came from the post-war eastern economy and government support also helped.”

“The global turmoil has directly or indirectly affected the local economy,” the head of the government’s statistics office Suranjana Vidyaratne said.

The expansion is the lowest seen since quarte