Gross national product (GNP) rose by 7.3 per cent in 1993, 0.9 per cent more than in 1992. State Institute of Statistics figures released at the end of March show that industrial output rose by 8.3 per cent. Drought hit agricultural output, which fell by 3.6 per cent.

Many manufacturing sectors boomed in 1993 because of high domestic consumption. This fuelled a 29 per cent rise in imports, the main cause of the 73 per cent increase in the trade deficit. The current account deficit reached a record of $6,380 million last year (MEED 8:4:94).

Features of the year included:

a 20.2 per cent increase in machinery output

an 11.1 per cent increase in metals output

a 10 per cent increase in energy sector output

a 4.4 per cent increase in textiles output. The sector was affected by weak demand in world markets and high cotton prices at home.

The government had forecast economic growth of 4.5 per cent in the 1994 budget, but this is unrealistic because of the foreign exchange crisis. Economists expect growth will be no more than 2 per cent. Some forecasters predict negative growth in 1994 (see page 8).