Sri Lanka GDP growth up 4.1-pct, Global slows to 2.9-pct : World Bank

Jan 10, 2019 (LBO) – Sri Lanka Gross Domestic Product growth is anticipated to speed up slightly to 4 percent in 2019, supported by robust domestic demand and investment boosted by infrastructure projects, the World Bnak’s January 2019 Global Economic Prospects says.

It also says that regional growth is expected to accelerate to 7.1 percent in 2019, underpinned by strengthening investment and robust consumption.

India is forecast to accelerate to 7.3 percent in FY 2018/19 as consumption remains robust and investment growth continues, Bangladesh is expected to slow to 7 percent in FY2018/19 as activity is supported by strong private consumption and infrastructure spending.

Pakistan’s growth is projected to decelerate to 3.7 percent in FY2018/19, with financial conditions tightening to help counter rising inflation and external vulnerabilities.

However, global economic growth is projected to soften from a downwardly revised 3 percent in 2018 to 2.9 percent in 2019 amid rising downside risks to the outlook, the report says.

“International trade and manufacturing activity have softened, trade tensions remain elevated, and some large emerging markets have experienced substantial financial market pressures.”

Growth among advanced economies is forecast to drop to 2 percent this year with slowing external demand, rising borrowing costs, and persistent policy uncertainties are expected to weigh on the outlook for emerging market and developing economies. Growth for this group is anticipated to hold steady at a weaker-than-expected 4.2 percent this year.

“At the beginning of 2018 the global economy was firing on all cylinders, but it lost speed during the year and the ride could get even bumpier in the year ahead”, said World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva. “As economic and financial headwinds intensify for emerging and developing countries, the world’s progress in reducing extreme poverty could be jeopardized. To keep the momentum, countries need to invest in people, foster inclusive growth, and build resilient societies.”

The upswing in commodity exporters has stagnated, while activity in commodity importers is decelerating. Per capita growth will be insufficient to narrow the income gap with advanced economies in about 35 percent of emerging market and developing economies in 2019, with the share increasing to 60 percent in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence.

A number of developments could act as a further brake on activity. A sharper tightening in borrowing costs could depress capital inflows and lead to slower growth in many emerging market and developing economies. Past increases in public and private debt could heighten vulnerability to swings in financing conditions and market sentiment. Intensifying trade tensions could result in weaker global growth and disrupt globally interconnected value chains.

“Robust economic growth is essential to reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity,” said World Bank Group Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu. “As the outlook for the global economy has darkened, strengthening contingency planning, facilitating trade, and improving access to finance will be crucial to navigate current uncertainties and invigorate growth.”