Sri Lanka manufacturing, services grow in March

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s manufacturing and services sectors grew in March 2019 from a month earlier ahead of the seasonal demand for the traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year, the central bank said.

The Sri Lanka Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing grew to 66.9 points in March from 50.6 points in February, reaching a 46-month high, with growth across all sub-indices.
An index value of over 50 indicates a growth over the previous month.
"The increase of PMI in March was largely attributable to increase in New Orders in line with the seasonal demand, especially in manufacturing of food and beverages," the Central Bank said.
"The Production also increased significantly, with the intention of achieving expected production levels ahead of the new year holidays in April."
Employment and stock purchasing also increased, the Central Bank said.
Key exporters in the textile and apparel industry had had to work overtime in order to fulfil orders ahead of the holiday season.
Compared to Sri Lanka’s performance, the global manufacturing PMI remained flat at 50.6 points in March from a month earlier.
The manufacturing PMIs of the US, Eurozone and India fell, while indices in UK, China, Singapore and Russia grew.
In the services sector, Sri Lanka’s PMI grew to 56.3 points in March, from 53 points in February.
The business activity sub-index grew to 63.5 points from 54.7 points, reaching a 3-month high ahead of the holidays.
"The expansion in Business Activities was mainly seen across wholesale and retail trade, and transportation sub sectors due to new year festive season," the Central Bank said. 
Employment and new businesses sub-indices also recorded growth.
"Prices Charged in the Services sector increased at a slower rate in March 2019 due to marginal increase in fuel prices, while the expected Labour Cost in the services sector increased at a higher rate due to expected salary increments and incentives to be granted during festive season."
Businesses meanwhile took a cautious view of activity for the next three months.
Sri Lanka is currently in an election year.
Expected activity on accommodation, food and beverages and personal services sub-sectors are expected to fall as the tourism industry is in the off-peak season, the Central Bank said.
The state is set to launch an off-peak tourism promotions campaign in May.
Sri Lanka’s services PMI outperformed the global services PMI,which grew to 53.7 points from 53.3 points.
The global services PMI has grown consecutively for 116 months.
Service PMIs of Japan, China, India and USA grew, while in UK, it fell. (Colombo/Apr17/2019-SB)

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