Cash-strapped Sri Lanka’s economy records positive growth for the first time since economic crisis


Sri Lanka’s bankrupt economy has recorded positive growth for the first time since the economic crisis hit the island nation, according to official data. “The year-on-year GDP growth rate for the third quarter has been reported as 1.6 per cent of positive growth rate,” the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) said in a press release on Friday.

Sri Lanka had recorded a minus 8 per cent growth when it declared bankruptcy in April 2022. The country’s economy continued to be in the negative from the fourth quarter of 2021. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which released the second tranche of its USD 2.9 billion bailout earlier this week, has said that Sri Lanka’s overall growth for 2023 would remain negative.

However, the country’s economy in 2024 is expected to grow with a positive one-plus growth, it said. Sri Lanka is currently going through a strict IMF-based reform regime. President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also the finance minister, insists on reforms despite strong criticism from the opposition.


The reforms, coupled with a high cost of living, are expected to play a significant role in the island’s election year in 2024. Wickremesinghe told Parliament this week that reforms were essential, despite the hardships faced by the public. Sri Lanka, which defaulted on its sovereign debt, is still in negotiations with external creditors for concessions on repayment to achieve sustainability, a key component of the IMF bailout.