IMF predicts 5.5 percent economic growth
Sri Lanka’s economy will grow 5.5 percent in 2010 due to improving
domestic demand and potential export growth after the 25-year war ended
in 2009 and as global recovery takes hold, the IMF said.
Increased domestic economic activities after the end of the war and
expected export growth as the global economy recovers will help, IMF
Director for Sri Lanka, Koshy Mathai told Reuters.
“The global environment is still not very strong as recovery is slow.
On that basis 5.5 percent is a good number,” he said.
IMF has set targets for Sri Lanka on reserves, monetary policy, and
fiscal deficits for loan disbursement and Mathai said the island had met
its July and September targets to get the first two tranches of the
loan, Reuters reported.
“We think that they would have met the reserve targets and monetary
policy targets. Fiscal is the one where the Government itself says there
is a question,” Mathai said. “We haven’t seen data yet, but one worry is
what’s happening on the expenditure side”.
The $40 billion economy, which was hit by a balance of payment crisis
early last year, has already received two tranches of a $2.6 billion IMF
loan and the third is due soon, Reuters reported.
“Now basically there is a stable macro economy. There is fiscal
concern that needs to be remedied in order to make sure that things
remain stable.” The global lender said Sri Lanka has done well in
monetary policy and reserve targets.
“We see right now the monetary policies are in the right place.
We don’t see any signs of overheating in the economy. We don’t see
demand-driven inflation,” Mathai said.
Annual inflation, which reached a record high of 28.2 percent in June
2008, slowed to a record low of 0.7 percent in September last year. It
hit a nine-month high of 6.5 percent in January.
Foreign currency reserves, which were at an eight-year low of $1.3
billion in March 2009, are now at record high of over $5 billion. Mathai
said the Central Bank should continue to increase its reserves to allow
high imports when rapid growth starts.