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Industrial production in Sri Lanka slows amid political crisis in Nov

ECONOMYNEXT – Industrial activity in Sri Lanka has slowed in November with lower food production and despite growth in apparel manufacturing from a year earlier, in month when the country was gripped by a political crisis, data from the state statistics office said.

An Index of Industrial Production compiled by the Census and Statistics Department fell 1.2 percent to 107.3 points in November from a year earlier.

An index value of over 100 shows a growth compared to 2015.

The slowdown came amid a constitutional crisis in the country, which the central bank said had an impact on economic activity in the final quarter of 2018.

President Maithripala Sirisena triggered the crisis by appointing Mahinda Rajapaksa suddenly as Prime Minister who did not have a parliamentary majority, and illegally dissolving parliament.

Food production which contributes 35.2 percent to manufacturing activities fell 2.7 percent in November to 102.4 index points from a year earlier.

Apparel production, which forms 19.8 percent of industrial activity and is Sri Lanka’s leading export, grew 3.8 percent to 119.2 points while exports of garments during the month grew 9.9 percent.

Manufacture of other non-metallic mineral products, the third largest industrial production, fell 11.3 percent in November from a year earlier to 100.8 points.

The fourth largest manufacturing activity, coke and refined petroleum production grew 5.8 percent to 108.5 points, while rubber and plastic product manufacturing, the fifth largest, grew 13.3 percent to 126.9 points.

Manufacture of beverages, small in terms of activity, grew the fastest by 14.2 percent to 97.2 points.

Paper and paper productions manufacturing, another minor activity, fell 26.1 percent to 80.2 points.

The index recorded a 3.7 percent fall from October to November, the largest seen since it began in 2016.

In comparison, there was a marginal monthly fall in November 2016, and a marginal gain in November 2017. (Colombo/Jan14/2019)