Sri Lanka’s economy grew at a positive rate of 4.3 per cent during the first quarter of this year, compared to a negative growth rate of 1.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, the Census and Statistics Department said releasing the GDP Summary Indicators for the 1st Quarter 2021.
The Department of Census and Statistics released estimates of Gross Domestic Product at current price and at constant (2010) price in Production approach and other macroeconomic indicators for the first quarter from January 1 to March 31, 2021.
The performance of the economy, even in the first quarter of 2021, was affected to some extent due to the spread of the second wave of the pandemic which started in October last year, the Department said in a communiqué.
In spite of the second COVID-19 wave, the economy continued to carry out most of the business activities, even under the imposed restrictions, except for very few, such as tourism and entertainment related activities.
The GDP growth rate of the first quarter of 2020 in Sri Lanka, recorded a negative growth rate of 1.8 per cent. This contraction in the economy is mainly due to the risk carried with the spread of global pandemic for the first time in Sri Lanka in early March of 2020.
To prevent the spread of this disease the government imposed a full lockdown period for the whole country and as a result all of the economic activities, except very few totally collapsed.
The Gross Domestic Product for Sri Lanka for the first quarter of 2021 at constant price has increased up to Rs. 2,393,922 million from Rs. 2,295,432 million which recorded in the first quarter of 2020.
In addition, the Gross Domestic Product for Sri Lanka for the first quarter of 2021 at current price has increased up to Rs. 4,173,783 million from Rs. 3,844,079 million which recorded in the first quarter of 2020 registering 8.6 per cent of change in the current price GDP.
The four major components of the economy, ‘Agriculture’, ‘Industry’, ‘Services’ and ‘Taxes less subsidies on products’ have contributed their share to the GDP at current prices by 7.8 per cent, 29.2 per cent, 57.4 per cent and 5.7 per cent respectively in the first quarter of 2021.
During the first quarter of 2021 among the three major economic activities, the Agriculture and Industrial activities reported substantial positive growth rates of 6.1 per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively. It is because all agriculture and industrial related activities were permitted to continue their businesses throughout the country even during the period of imposed restrictions.
Meanwhile the Services activities expanded at a moderate rate of 3.0 per cent during this quarter, when compared to the same quarter in year 2020.
In the first quarter of 2021, the agriculture activities as a whole have reported a substantial expansion by 6.1 per cent when compared to the 6.5 per cent of negative growth recorded in the first quarter of 2020. Most of the agriculture activities have reported positive growth rates.
During the first quarter of 2021, the overall industrial activities have reported a considerable level of growth by 5.5 per cent. This positive growth is basically underpinned by the expansion I the manufacturing, construction, mining and quarrying activities during this quarter. The overall manufacturing industry grew by 6.8 per cent during the first quarter of 2021 when compared to the same quarter in previous year.
The Service sector too reported a moderate growth of 3.0 per cent.