Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 1.6 percent in the first quarter of 2022 as the country’s economic activity slowed significantly despite expectations of recovery after two years of the pandemic, the media reported on Wednesday.
The Department of the Census and Statistics (DCS) said the economic growth cratered due to “factors such as inflation, foreign exchange devaluation and dollar deficit”, the Daily Mirror and other newspapers said.
It said the chemical fertilizer shortage during the first quarter had a severe impact on agriculture. As a result, rice production fell significantly.
“Thus, the agricultural economy recorded the highest decline in this quarter since the year 2015,” DCS said.
It said that due to chemical fertilizer shortage, growing of rice contracted by 33.8 percent while growing of tea shrank by 15 percent. Similarly, growth in rubber, cereals, vegetables, and fruits’ contracted by 13.1 percent, 9.5 percent, 8.4 percent, and 3.8 percent respectively.
The industrial sector, according to DCS, was negatively impacted by the restrictions imposed on fuel imports.
All manufacturing activities recorded contractions in the first quarter, with the highest contraction of 24.3 percent seen by coke and refined petroleum products.
The highest contributors to the GDP in the manufacturing sector — food, beverages, and tobacco products as well as textiles, apparel, and leather products — reported contractions of 9.1 percent and 0.9 percent respectively in this quarter.
The construction industry also suffered, and so did mining and quarrying.