ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's manufacturing and services sectors grew in January 2019 compared to December 2018 fueled by apparel and education industries, the Central Bank said.
The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), compiled by the Central Bank, grew to 54.4 points in January, up 0.7 points from December.
An index value over 50 shows a growth over the previous month.
Sri Lanka's manufacturing PMI grew to 54.4 points in January from 53.7 points in December, compared to the global manufacturing PMI falling 0.8 points to 50.7.
"This was mainly driven by the expansion in employment and production, especially in manufacturing of textiles, wearing apparels, leather and related activities," the Central Bank said.
"A significant improvement in employment was experienced with the recruitment of new employees to fill the vacancies," it said.
Employment grew to 52.5 points in January, rebounding from a fall of 46.5 points in December.
However, growth in new orders in manufacturing slowed to 54 points in January from 57 points, as the holiday season came to an end.
In the services sector, the PMI grew 1.1 points to 55.8 in January, while the global services PMI fell to a 28-month low of 52.6 points.
The Central Bank said there was a growth in employment, new business, and expectations for activities in the services sector.
"Employment sub index reached a seven-month high in January 2019 due to recruitments for filling vacant positions, which were delayed in December 2018," the Central Bank said.
"Respondents in education; and postal and courier activities sub sectors cited that their new businesses were expanded in January 2019 due to intake of new batches and increase in gift deliveries for the new year."
"However, passive expansion in business activity at the beginning of the year could be due to seasonality, as the activity level in January 2019 is compared with a strong activity level in December 2018, which was a festive season and peak season for tourism."
It said prices charged for services grew at a slower rate in January due to stabilisation of the rupee, while the expected labour cost grew as annual increments are due in April. (Colombo/Feb18/2019-SB)