First quarter GDP figures out soon - DCS | Sunday Observer

First quarter GDP figures out soon - DCS

2 August, 2020

The first quarter performance of the GDP (Gross Domestic product) will be released as soon as reports on statistics related to the GDP have been completed, Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) Director General Dr. Indu Bandara told the Sunday Observer Business on Friday responding to speculation that the delay in releasing the figures was due to negative growth reported in the first quarter.  

“We are in the process of finalising the reports which were delayed due to staffers being unable to report to work in organisations during the lockdown,” Dr. Bandara said, adding that the final report has to be in all three languages.   However, with regard to the time the results could be released, she declined to commit on a time- frame due to the present situation in the country.  

When contacted, Central Bank Governor Prof. W.D. Lakshman said the bank had not yet received the figures for the quarter and that it has to be got from the Department of Census and Statistics which provides the statistics.   “We knew the results but needed official confirmation from DCS to release the figures,” the Governor said, adding that a certain politician had called for the figures based on speculation of global organisations that the first quarter had a negative growth rate.   Concerns over the delay in publishing the quarterly economic growth rate was raised by an Opposition politician recently suspecting a move to cover up a negative figure.  

The politician said that the first quarter results for the year should have been released by June.  

The Central Bank expected the economic growth rate for the first quarter this year to be in the range of one per cent.

Indications are that the economic growth rate in the second quarter this year has been severely affected due to the global crisis.  

Sri Lanka was downgraded to a lower–middle income country from an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank last month.  

Besides, Moody’s Investor Services report notes that Sri Lanka is facing the second most significant deterioration in debt affordability among the non-investment grade sovereigns, amid the erosion in its revenue base and upcoming external debt maturities.

  However, the Central Bank is optimistic that the economy would rebound in the second half of the year backed by monetary and fiscal stimulus measures introduced by the Government and the Central Bank.   The global economy is expected to lose nearly US$ 8.5 trillion in output over the next two to three years due to the pandemic which is said to last until a vaccine has been found.