Sri Lanka’s economy expands by 5.9 % in 2005

Mar. 31 – Sri Lanka’s economy expanded by 5.9 percent in 2005, over 5.4 percent a year earlier, in the backdrop of high international oil prices and stiff competition for key exports like garments, the Central Bank said Friday. Economic growth during the fourth quarter of 2005 was 6.3 percent on higher inputs from agriculture, telecommunications, ports and apparel exports.

Industrial exports dominated by textiles and garments reported a growth of 5.0 per cent in 2005 as against 18.2 per cent in the previous year.

Good rainfall contributed to bumper paddy harvest, while also helping the island generate more electricity using cheaper hydro power – which grew 26.2 percent.

However, tea, the country’s prime export commodity, faltered with excessive rains curbing production volumes during the latter part of the year.

The damp weather conditions also saw prices fall 7.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Tsunami rebuilding activities gave the construction sector a leg up creating extra work for other infrastructure related projects like road development, water supply and irrigation.

The telecommunications sector, continued its blistering pace, with mobile subscribers increasing by 52 percent and fi