Sri Lanka’s economy has shown a “fair bit of resilience,” with its key tourism sector bouncing back following the devastating Easter Sunday bombings, said a senior executive — despite predictions that growth would be hit this year.
The South Asian country’s economy is in “decent shape” fundamentally, said Gihan Cooray, deputy chairman and group finance director at John Keells Group, Sri Lanka’s second largest listed company by market capitalization.
“The economy has shown a fair bit of resilience post the incident in April. We’ve seen sort of consumer sentiment being relatively strong … the fundamentals of the economy are in decent shape,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday.
In April, bomb blasts ripped through churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people and injuring more than 400.
Analysts as well as the Sri Lankan government had predicted the bombings would hit the country’s growth this year. Sri Lankan State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne had said 2019 growth “would be around 3%” —lower than projections by institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank.
The IMF’s 2019 growth forecast for Sri Lanka was 3.5%, while that of the ADB was 3.6%.
In May, a Reuters poll showed that the country’s 2019 gross domestic product (GDP) growth could hit an 18-year-low following the bombings, falling to 2.5%. The attacks weighed on tourism, foreign investment, and business activity in the country.
Since then, Sri Lanka’s central bank has cut its rates twice in a bid to lift its struggling economy in the wake of the attacks.