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Thursday July 18th, 2024

Bangladesh surprised over quick repayment CB swap by Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT – Bangladesh was surprised over a quick repayment of a loan borrowed during a currency crisis, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has told Sri Lanka president Ranil Wickremesinghe, his office said in a statement.

President Wickremesinghe has thanked Bangladesh for “their unwavering support and assistance during challenging times,” when the two South Asian leaders met in New York on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina informed President Wickremesinghe that “she was pleased with Sri Lanka’s speedy recovery from the financial crisis, adding that she had not expected Sri Lanka to pay back the loan so fast,” the statment said.

Sri Lanka’s central bank borrowed money from Bangladesh Bank during a currency crisis, the agency was triggering by interest rates artificially low by printing money.

Sri Lanka in 2022 hike rates allowed maturing debt to be rolled over at market prices and ended a currency crisis.

Sri Lanka repaid another 100 million US dollars in the second installment of the 200 million-dollar loan given by Bangladesh in a currency swap, earlier this month.

Colombo paid 50 million dollars in August in the first installment of the loan repayment. The remaining 50 million is due to be repaid within the current year.

On August 22, Bangladesh’s The Daily Star quoted Bangladesh Bank Executive Director Mesbaul Haque as saying: “We are hopeful that the entire amount will be cleared by September.”

During the 2022 currency crisis, Sri Lanka’s worst in decades, the repayment was extended multiple times. The final extension to September this year was made in May 2022, with the interest rate fixed at LIBOR + 2.5 percent.

Wickremesinghe acknowledged Bangladesh’s generosity and affirmed his desire to strengthen ties between the two countries by visiting Bangladesh in November or December.

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Last year Sri Lanka Port Authority met Bangladesh’s Chittagong port officials to find ways to boost connectivity between the two ports. Bangladesh exports and imports are transshipped via Singapore and Sri Lanka. (Colombo/Sep20/2023)

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Sri Lanka to conduct threat assessments for presidential candidates

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has submitted a cabinet paper proposing security measures for presidential candidates and former presidents, following the recent attack on former US President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in the USA.

“This proposal suggests the appointment of a committee to conduct threat assessments and provide necessary security for Presidential candidates as well as former Presidents,” a statement from his media division said.

The committee will include the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security as Chair, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of National Intelligence, and the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police/Elections.

A Deputy Inspector General of Police will be appointed to oversee all security arrangements.

The committee and the designated officer will work closely with the Election Commission to ensure seamless coordination of security arrangements, the PMD said.

After today, July 17, Sri Lanka’s Election Committee is empowered to announce a date for the presidential polls due to be held this year.

Minister of Foreign Affairs M U M Ali Sabry has said the election will be held on October 5 or 12.

Members of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) have said that the government should be accountable for the security of Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, the SJB’s presidential candidate. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes flat at 303.80/304.00 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed almost flat at 303.80/304.00 to the US dollar on Wednesday, from 303.70/304.00 to the US dollar on Tuesday, dealers said, while bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.60/75 percent, down from 10.82/92 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2027 closed at 11.60/38 percent, down from 11.65/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 closed at 11.72/78 percent, down from 11.80/90 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.05/10 percent, down from 12.05/20 percent. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close down, John Keells, Hemas, Hayleys push turnover

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Wednesday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed down 0.41 percent, or 48.44 points, at 11,830; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.52 percent, or 17.91 points, at 3,456.

Turnover was 1.2 million. A big part of this (Rs597mn) came from John Keells Holdings Plc (down at 194.25).

“There was foreign buying interest on John Keells and Hemas,” Softlogic Stockbrokers said.

“We saw foreign interest in selective counters persist.”

Hemas Holdings Plc contributed Rs143mn to the turnover, and the share closed down at 81.10.

Hayleys Plc contributed Rs156mn to the turnover, and the share closed up at 101.50.

The three crossings made up 67 percent of the turnover.

The capital goods counters, with all the bluechips, was the leading sector contributing to the day’s turnover.

With the exception of Hayleys and a couple of other companies, the counter saw most stocks close down or flat.

Sentiment around the banking counters also remained negative.

“The volatility in investor sentiments persisted. There are a lot of spectators in the market over the last few weeks, despite some positive news coming in.”

Treasury bill and bond rates have also dropped.

The top contributors to the ASPI were Melstacorp Plc (up at 86.00), SMB Finance Plc (up at 0.70), and TeeJay Lanka Plc (up at 40.00).

There was a net foreign inflow of 392 million. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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