Sri Lanka economy to grow 3.5-pct in 2009: CB Governor

Jan 04, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s economy is expected to grow by 3.5 percent in 2009 after it slowed down owing to global recession, with revenue picking up and exports seen recovering, Central Bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. Cabraal said the full integration of the north and east which had been affected by war with the rest of the economy will have a significant impact on future economic growth.

The economy was slowed down by the negative impact of the global economic crisis but its performance is commendable considering that many countries went into recession, he told a news conference.

The economy had expanded by 2.6 percent in the first three quarters of last year.

The island ended 2009 with annual average inflation falling to a 25-year low, high foreign exchange reserves and expectations of growth accelerating with the end of the 30-year ethnic war, Cabraal said.

Growth in the fisheries sector revived with the easing of restriction imposed in the north and east because of the Tamil Tiger separatist insurgency, he said.

Government forces defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, ending the conflict that had retarded economic growth.

Cabraal said there was low growth in the rice sector beca