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Friday June 2nd, 2023

China won’t get special treatment in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring – CB Chief

ECONOMYNEXT – China will be treated equal to all other external creditors and will not be given any preferential treatment when Sri Lanka carries out its debt restructuring, the island nation’s Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said on Friday (29).

Sri Lanka on April 12 announced that it was suspending all foreign debt repayments as it had run out of foreign currency reserves and it will be restructuring all its external debts.

A Sri Lankan delegation led by Finance Minister Ali Sabry including Weerasinghe held talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on its plans for debt sustainability while requesting an IMF funding to overcome the financial crisis.

China was in discussion with Sri Lanka on lending a 1 billion US dollar to repay existing Chinese loans due in July and another 1.5 billion US dollar credit line to purchase goods.

Chinese Ambassador to Colombo this week said the discussions have been temporarily halted as Beijing was waiting to see the outcome of the IMF talks on debt restructuring.

China has openly told Sri Lanka that it is not in favour of debt restructuring as it will have to do the same to other debtors, Colombo government officials have said.

“All the external creditor will be treated equally. There is no question about that. India, China, Paris Club, Non Paris Club all will be treated on the same basis,” Weerasinghe told reporters in Colombo. 

“It is unfair by others if we are going to treat somebody with preferential treatment and others won’t come on board,” he said.

“We do not repay any loans now. We will be starting repaying only once we reach consensus on the debt repayments. If one party delays, then we won’t be able to start repayment.”

China has lent over 5 billion US dollars to Sri Lanka mainly for infrastructure projects amid allegations by the West and India that China has dragged Sri Lanka into a debt trap by financing big infrastructure projects which do not generate revenue.

However, Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said China has never created a debt trap while Beijing has maintained its lending to Colombo accounts for around 10 percent of the total external debt.    

Cabinet Spokesman Nalaka Godahewa this week said Sri Lanka will discuss with China on the issue and hopeful that Beijing would consider the current crisis as a special circumstance. 

Weerasinghe said once the restructuring is announced with the basis of equal treatment, creditors can negotiate with Sri Lanka if they have concerns. 

“Once we announce that we are going to treat them equally, then our part is done. The creditors will have to negotiate with us on that basis,” he said.

“We have made it very clear. If we offer a concession to one creditor, then we have to give the same concession to all the creditors. Otherwise it won’t happen.” (Colombo/April29/2022)

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  1. Dilkie says:

    Shylok. Want pound of flesh fir debt.

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  1. Dilkie says:

    Shylok. Want pound of flesh fir debt.

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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