The agriculture sector grew 11.5 percent during the first three months of this year compared to a 4.3 percent decline during the same quarter a year earlier. While paddy production grew 35.2 percent, tea declined 6.7 percent, rubber was down 5.5 percent and minor export groups fell 26.8 percent. In terms of current market prices, the agriculture sector recorded a 0.5 percent growth rate compared to 11.4 percent a year earlier.
The industry sector grew 10.8 percent, slowing down from a 11.1 percent growth rate a year earlier.
The manufacturing sector saw growth slump to 6.7 percent during the first quarter of this year from 8.2 percent a year ago. The apparels sector grew 7.4 percent, slowing down from a growth rate of 11.5 percent a year earlier.
The services sector too recorded a slump, growing at 5.8 percent during the first three months of this year from 9.5 percent a year earlier.
The banking, insurance and real estate sector grew 7.2 percent, slowing down from a 9.2 percent growth rate a year earlier.
Cargo handling and civil aviation grew 3.1 percent during the quarter, significantly slowing down from a 19.4 percent growth rate a year earlier, the government statistics office showed.
When contributions to the overall economy are considered, the agriculture and industries sector saw their share of GDP increase slightly while the services sector’s share declined.
The agriculture sector’s contribution to GDP was 12.7 percent (up from 12.3 percent a year earlier), the industries sector’s share was 30 percent (from 29.2 percent) and the services sector’s share of GDP fell to 57.3 percent during the quarter from 58.5 percent a year earlier.
The Central Bank has forecast a growth rate of 7.2 percent this year, down from 8.3 percent in 2011. Last week the International Monetary Fund said the economy would grow 6.75 percent this year.
Pressures in the global economy and a slew of policy measures to contain a balance of payments crisis will slowdown economic growth this year, but as reported in these pages the IMF is content to see sustainable growth, rather than rapid economic growth coupled with growing imbalances.
The US$ 2.6 billion standby facility is expected to end this year and talks are ongoing for a separate monitoring programme.
The IMF has urged the Central Bank to continue with its tight monetary policy in order to contain inflation which is expected to reach 9.5 percent by the year’s end.