Sri Lanka’s manufacturing and service activities continued in resilience in last month (August 2020) benefiting from the normalisation of business activities following the near normalcy situation of Covisd-19 pandemic in the country Central Bank announced.
Both new orders and production process remained at expansionary levels in August 2020 while a noticeable negative impact was observed in employment.
Backlogs of work continued to remain in the negative territory indicating that any increase in demand can be met with the existing capacity.
Accordingly, employment declined in August 2020 owing to non extension of work agreements of the contract employees amidst halt in new recruitments.
Central Bank revealed that the expansion of manufacturing activities was mainly supported by the manufacturing of food & beverages sector.
Some respondents in the manufacturing sector highlighted that they have recruited new employees with the anticipation of upcoming seasonal demand.
The stock of purchases expanded at a slower rate in line with the movements of production and new Orders.
The suppliers’ delivery time continued to lengthen, at a higher pace, due to issues in logistics such as unavailability of direct shipping services, CB observed.
Also, respondents highlighted that the continuation of restrictions imposed on importation of certain categories of goods including machinery parts adversely affected the smooth functioning of manufacturing activities.
The overall expectations for manufacturing activities for the next three months improved, yet some manufacturers are still concerned that the relatively weak demand particularly from external front prevents them from reaching pre-COVID levels.
Services sector continued to expand for the third consecutive month with resilience and efficiency.
It .was underpinned by the expansions observed in new businesses, business activities and expectations for activity compared to July 2020 indicating the gradual recovery of services sector activities to the pre-pandemic levels.
New Businesses, particularly in financial services, insurance and transportation sub-sectors, improved in August 2020 with the gradual recovery in economic activities.
Business activities increased for the fourth successive month and reached a satisfactory achievement signifying a swift recovery in services sector activities compared to the previous month, Central Bank added.
In line with the increase observed in apparel and pharma protective masks exports, business activities in the transportation sub-sector improved in August 2020 compared to the previous month.
Further, respondents in the accommodation, food and beverage sub-sector cited that they were able to attract more domestic tourists through promotions in August 2020.
Moreover, business activities related to financial services and other personal services sub-sectors also increased during the month.
Meanwhile, expectations on future business activities increased in August 2020 due to positive sentiments on revival of economic activities and political stability in the forthcoming period.