Economy of Sri Lanka

Economy - overview:In 1977, Colombo abandoned statist economic policies and its import substitution trade policy for more market-oriented policies, export-oriented trade, and encouragement of foreign investment. Recent changes in government, however, have brought some policy reversals. Currently, the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party has a more statist economic approach, which seeks to reduce poverty by steering investment to disadvantaged areas, developing small and medium enterprises, promoting agriculture, and expanding the already enormous civil service. The government has halted most privatizations. Although suffering a brutal civil war that began in 1983, Sri Lanka saw GDP growth average 4.5% in the last 10 years with the exception of a recession in 2001. In late December 2004, a major tsunami took about 31,000 lives, left more than 6,300 missing and 443,000 displaced, and destroyed an estimated $1.5 billion worth of property. Growth, partly spurred by reconstruction, reached 5% in 2005 and more than 6% in 2006. Sri Lanka's most dynamic sectors now are food processing, textiles and apparel, food and beverages, port construction, telecommunications, and insurance and banking. In 2005, plantation crops made up only about 15% of exports (compared with more than 90% in 1970), while textiles and garments accounted for more than 60%. About 800,000 Sri Lankans work abroad, 90% in the Middle East. They send home more than $1 billion a year. The struggle by the Tamil Tigers of the north and east for an independent homeland continues to cast a shadow over the economy.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$95.55 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$27.4 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:7.5% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):$4,700 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 17.3%
industry: 27.3%
services: 55.3% (2006 est.)
Labor force:7.5 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture: 34.3%
industry: 25.3%
services: 40.4% (30 June 2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:7.6% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:22% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 39.7% (FY03/04)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:50 (FY03/04)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):12.1% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):28.2% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget:revenues: $5.61 billion
expenditures: $8.39 billion; including capital expenditures of $2.8 billion (FY07 est.)
Public debt:89.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:rice, sugarcane, grains, pulses, oilseed, spices, tea, rubber, coconuts; milk, eggs, hides, beef; fish
Industries:processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, tobacco and other agricultural commodities; telecommunications, insurance, banking; clothing, textiles; cement, petroleum refining
Industrial production growth rate:6.2% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:8.766 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 51.7%
hydro: 48.3%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:8.17 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production:0 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - consumption:82,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports:NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:0 bbl
Natural gas - production:0 cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:0 cu m (2006 est.)
Current account balance:-$1.118 billion (2006 est.)
Exports:$7.076 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:textiles and apparel, tea and spices; diamonds, emeralds, rubies; coconut products, rubber manufactures, fish
Exports - partners:US 27.7%, UK 11.4%, India 9.4%, Belgium 4.7%, Germany 4% (2006)
Imports:$9.655 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:textile fabrics, mineral products, petroleum, foodstuffs, machinery and transportation equipment
Imports - partners:India 19.2%, China 10.3%, Singapore 8.6%, Iran 5.6%, Malaysia 5%, Hong Kong 4.1% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$2.81 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:$12.23 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:$808 million (2005)
Currency (code):Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)
Currency code:LKR
Exchange rates:Sri Lankan rupees per US dollar - 103.99 (2006), 100.498 (2005), 101.194 (2004), 96.521 (2003), 95.662 (2002)
Fiscal year:calendar year

Sri Lanka Quickstats

  • Population: 20,926,315
  • Area: 65,610 sq km
  • Density: 310 /km² (35th)
  • GDP (total): $86.72 billion (61st)
  • GDP (per capita): $4,600 (111th)
  • Literacy: 90.7%

Languages of Sri Lanka

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  • Currency: Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)
  • Dial code: +94

International Trade

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