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Friday June 2nd, 2023

Bawa-designed Cinnamon Bentota Beach in Sri Lanka re-opens

ECONOMYNEXT – Cinnamon Bentota Beach, a historically important 1967 hotel designed by Geoffrey Bawa who helped inspire an architectural style known as tropical modernism, has re-opened after restoration, the hotel group said.

“Bawa was able to create an experience that was completely rooted in place and time using the art skills and crafts available to deliver an experience that was unique to Sri Lanka,” Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts said.

“Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts decided to restore and conserve the building because of its importance in the architectural history of the world.”

Bawa himself designed and contributed to the spread buildings in the style of tropical modernism around South and South East Asia.

Originally Bentota Beach, the hotel is now branded Cinnamon Bentota Beach, under the brand of the John Keells group, which runs a network of 15 hotels in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

“We started this project eighteen months ago, and set ourselves a tight timeline to complete it,” Krishan Balendra, Chairman John Keells Group said.

“I’m happy to say that what we have today is a hotel restored to the original feel of Geoffrey Bawa’s creation.

“Bentota Beach Hotel as it was known then, has been an icon in Sri Lanka as we all know, and we are eager to share with our guests the history and heritage value of this hotel.”

The hotel features creations by local artists as well as works by Bawa’s associates.

Paintings by Ismeth Raheem (artist, architect and author) decorate the walls of the lounge, while sixteen suites containing art and creations by local artists correspond to the name of each suite.

Eight artists were commissioned to depict a theme and record what they felt the name of the suite meant to them resulting in each suite telling a story of the local people and local languages.

The restoration involved reinstating a ceiling by Ena de Silva at the entrance, the handloom fabric design of Barbara Sansoni and Barefoot, the recreation of the ceiling of the lounge and bar with the aid of designer Marie Gnanaraj.

A gilded and painted panel by Ismeth Raheem on the south wall of the lounge that records memories of the hotel and its 50 year history was also restored.

The hotel is on a 11-acre property facing the Indian Ocean and Bentara River. It is a 159-room hotel with 16-suites and 144-suite sized rooms. (Colombo/Jan20/2020)

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Sri Lanka to ramp up weekend fuel deliveries after petrol price cut

More deaths reported at Sri Lanka fuel queues

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation will be operating on the weekend to complete all fuel deliveries to end vehicle queues forming outside fuel stations after the price revision earlier in the week, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

“Instructions have been given to CPC and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals to continue fuel deliveries on Saturday and Sunday this week to supply sufficient stocks to all fuel stations,” Minister Wijesekera said in a TWITTER.COM MESSAGE

“To reduce expenses on overtime, CPC and CPSTL have not been operating on Sundays and public holidays in the last 4 months,” Wijesekera said.

“Non-placement of orders by fuel stations from last Saturday, anticipating a price reduction, not maintaining minimum stocks, immediate increase in demand by consumers after the price revision, and quota increase have created shortages in the fuel stations.”

The Minister in April 2023 said all fuel stations would be required to maintain a minimum of 50 percent of stock tank capacity.

“I have asked CPC to review and suspend the license of fuel stations that had not maintained minimum stocks.” (Colombo/ June 02/ 2023)

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Sri Lanka bonds yield up at close, rupee at 291.75/292.50 against the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bonds closed steady on Friday, dealers said, following the central bank’s decision to cut its main policy rate by 250 basis points.

The Spot US dollar closed at 291.75/292.50 rupees, dealers said.

The rupee opened at 290.25/75 to the US dollar Thursday and closed at 292.50/295.50 to the US dollar.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 24.70/90 percent up from 24.50/90 percent a day earlier, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 closed at 25.75/26.25 percent up from 25.00/26.00 percent a day earlier.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2025 closed at 27.00/30 percent, up from 26.30/27.00 per cent at last close.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 20.25/21.00 percent, up from 20.00/40 per cent at last close.
(Colombo/ June 02/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s shares edge up on positive macroeconomic sentiments

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares closed higher in trade on Friday, over positive macro-sentiments encouraging investors to redeem their interest towards buying, an analyst said.

The main All Share Price Index was up 0.72 percent or 62.19 points to 8,753.80,  while the most liquid index S&P SL20 was up 0.68 percent or 16.87 points to 2,487.29.

Sri Lanka’s inflation in the 12-months to May 2023 has eased to 25.2 percent from 35.3 percent a month earlier according to a revised Colombo Consumer Price Index calculated by the state statistics office.

Prior to the Monetary Policy investors were quite optimistic that inflation is to lower and interest rates will decrease and since exp, an analyst said.

Sri Lanka Central Bank is waiting for the government proposal on the domestic debt restructuring (DDR), the central bank governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said amid uncertainty over DDR and speculations over instability in the banking sector.

“On debt restructuring, the borrower is the ministry of finance’s treasury. Certainly we will announce what the strategy will be. We are waiting for a government proposal,” Weerasinghe said.

Sri Lanka’s investors are waiting on assurances to be made on debt restructuring and optimization, Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said, “It is up to the government to clear the uncertainty, because from our side we have done that part.”

The central bank cut the key policy rates by 250 basis points to spur a faltering economic growth as inflation was decelerating faster than it projected.

The speculation of DDR has hit the market and the risk premium has kept the market lending rates well above the central bank’s policy rates. The government has yet to present its plans on DDR.

Weerasinghe said the central bank has done its best to reduce the risk premium through bringing down the market lending rates while keeping the policy rates unchanged.

Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has discussed progress of International Monetary Fund program and debt restructuring during a visit of Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura, statement said.

“The discussion primarily focused on the progress of the IMF program between Sri Lanka and the IMF,” a statement from President’s office said.

“Attention was also paid to the on-going debt restructuring negotiations.”

However Officials from IMF have said Sri Lanka has to focus on expanding taxes.

“We discussed the importance of fiscal measures, in particular revenue measures, for a return to macroeconomic stability,” Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura said in a statement.

The finance ministry this week issued rules requiring everyone above 18 year of age to register to pay income tax.

“I was encouraged by the authorities’ commitment to negotiate a debt strategy in a timely and transparent manner.

The market generated a revenue of 738 million rupees, while the daily average was 1 billion rupees.

Top gainers in trade were Vallibel One, LOLC Finance and Browns Investment. (Colombo/June02/2023)

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