ECONMYNEXT- Sri Lanka's industrial activity grew 1.6 percent in December 2018 compared to November with higher food production in the holiday season, the state statistics office said.
The Index of Industrial Production, compiled by the Department of Census and Statistics, grew to 109 points in December from 107.3 points in November.
A value over 100 means industrial activity grew compared to the base year of 2015.
The Index had been 107.7 points in December 2017.
In December 2018, food production was up 7.1 percent from a month earlier to 109.7 points, driving the index up.
Food accounts for around 35.1 percent of industrial activity.
Food production is usually higher in December due to the holiday season.
Apparel manufacturing, worth 19.8 percent of industrial production and Sri Lanka's leading merchandise export, fell 1.1 percent to 117.9 points in December compared to November.
However, apparel exports in December grew 4.7 percent to 468 million US dollars compared to a month earlier, according to Joint Apparel Association Forum data.
The other three large industries; other non-metallic mineral production, coke and petroleum refining and rubber and plastic manufacturing recorded falls in December from a month earlier.
Compared to a year earlier, food production in December made a marginal gain, while the other industries in the top five grew faster.
For the final quarter of 2018, which was defined by a political crisis started by President Maithripala Sirisena, the industrial sector made a marginal gain of 0.9 percent, growing to 109.1 points from ayear earlier.
Food production for the quarter fell 0.7 percent to 105.7 points.
Apparel production grew 4.7 percent to 119.7 points, while exports recorded a 4.2 percent growth to 1.3 billion US dollars.
Other non-metalic mineral product manufacturing grew 2.3 percent to 112.6 points in the final quarter of 2018 compared to a year earlier.
Manufacturing of coke and refined petroelum products grew 5.9 percent to 109.9 points in the index, while rubber and plastic product industries grew 9.2 percent to 122.5 points. (Colombo/Feb13/2019-SB)