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Wednesday February 28th, 2024

China’s 10bn yuan swap with Sri Lanka is “unique”, says envoy

ECONOMYNEXT – A 10 billion yuan (close to 1.5 billion US dollars) swap between the central banks of China and Sri Lanka is a “very special, unique” facility given that the arrangement got the approval of Beijing’s top leader, the Chinese envoy to Sri Lanka said.

Though Sri Lanka’s central bank signed the swap arrangement with China in March last year, the island nation’s central bank drew it into the country’s reserves only on December 29 after it failed to boost its official reserves as expected from other inflows.

“I would like to reiterate that it is a very special unique arrangement,” Qi Zhenhong told reporters on Sunday.

“It got the support and was decided by the highest level of leaders from China. It’s a strategic decision by the Chinese leader.”

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) entered into the currency swap agreement in March last year “with a view to promoting bilateral trade and direct investment for economic development” of the two countries.

The both central banks agreed to use the swap “for other purposes agreed upon by both parties”, Sri Lanka’s central bank said in a statement soon after it signed the agreement.

This Swap agreement was approved by Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers with the recommendation of the Monetary Board of CBSL.


China backs resumption of stalled FTA with Sri Lanka

Chinese envoy confident of Sri Lanka overcoming economic crisis

Sri Lanka President seeks debt relief, import credit from China

Sri Lanka boosted reserves which fell to 1.6 billion US dollars in November to 3.1 billion US dollars in December 2021 with the help of the swap.

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa also asked for debt relief, from China during the visit. (Colombo/Dec10/2021)

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Sri Lanka stocks close up, retail activity coming in

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

The broader All Share Index closed up 55.29 points, or 0.52 percent at 10,678; while the S&P SL20 Index closed up at 3,056 points, up 0.06 percent, or 1.73 points.

Turnover was at 1.2 billion.

Market participants said that “retail activity is also picking up.”

Hemas Holdings Plc saw large volumes being traded, contributing 90 million to the day’s turnover. The share closed up at 75.00.

Kapruka Holdings Plc announced that it had purchased 197,015 ordinary voting shares of its subsidiary Kapruka e-Commerce (Pvt) Ltd for 13.2 million rupees at 67 a share. The proceeds will be used by Kapruka e-Commerce “to fulfill the IPO objective of launching Kapruka Partner Central, the company said. The share closed down at 6.80.

E B Creasy and Company Plc announced a disposal of investment in its subsidiary, Lanka Special Steels Limited (LSSL) in accordance with the restructuring process of the E B Creasy Group. The Board resolved “to divest its 100% stake represented by 2,138,657 shares in its subsidiary Lanka Special Steels Limited (LSSL), to subsidiary company Laxapana Batteries PLC (Laxapana) for a total consideration of Rs694mn which will be settled in installments. Shares of E B Creasy and Company Plc closed up at 22.00.

Sectors that attracted investor interest were Capital Goods (376mn), Food, Beverage and Tobacco (181mn), and Banks (166mn).

Positive contributors to the indices in the day included Hayleys Plc (up at 82.00), Chevron Lubricants Lanka Plc (up at 104.00), Vallibel One Plc (43.30), and Cargills (Ceylon) Plc (up at 349.75) whose Chairman Ranjith Paige donated 3 million rupees to the ‘Children of Gaza Fund’ earlier today. (Colombo/Feb28/2024).

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Sri Lanka Education Ministry asks schools to keep children out of sun

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Education Ministry has warned school officials against exposing children to the sun as the Natural Hazards Early Warning Centre issued a heat index advisory.

“As extreme hot weather may rise further today, tomorrow and the next day (Feb 28, 29 and March 1), avoid keeping school students outdoors in high temperatures,” the ministry said in a statement.

With temperatures expected to increase in the next few days, “students in any school in the island will not participate in outdoor sports training activities or sports events”. The Ministry of Education has advised all schools to refrain from engaging in any other external activity.

Instructions have been forwarded to the provincial and regional education authorities to inform principals, and “to proceed according to the series of instructions issued by the Ministry of Health”.

According to the Department of Meteorology forecast, the heat index, the temperature felt on the human body, is expected to increase up to the ‘Caution’ level at some places in the North-western, Western and Southern provinces and Ratnapura District.

A ‘Caution’ level denotes ‘fatigue is possible with prolonged exposure and activity. Continuing activity could result in heat cramps.

Job sites: Stay hydrated and takes breaks in the shade as often as possible.
Indoors: Check up on the elderly and the sick.
Vehicles: Never leave children [or pets] unattended.
Outdoors: Limit strenuous outdoor activities, find shade and stay hydrated.
Dress: Wear lightweight and white or light-colored clothing.

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Sri Lanka focused on national unity: FM at UN Human Rights Council

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry has urged members of the UN Human Rights Council not to allow short-term political gains or “domestic vote bank politics” to overtake the work of the Council.

Sabry addressed the high-level segment of the 55th Session of the Council through a pre-recorded video statement on Tuesday.

“In my address to HRC55 via a video message, I underlined Sri Lanka’s continuing focus and tangible steps taken in the interest of national unity and reconciliation, reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to engaging in constructive Human Rights processes while rejecting politicized and unilateral measures that infringe upon the sovereignty of Member States,” Sabry said on X (twitter).

“I stressed the fact that the manner in which the Council approaches the humanitarian crisis in Gaza will be a litmus test to its credibility as the foremost international human rights body, and reiterated the importance of avoiding double standards being practiced in the pursuit of political agendas.”

The Foreign Minister reiterated Sri Lanka’s rejection of the HRC resolutions 46/1 and 51/1 and the external evidence gathering mechanism established by these resolutions, saying that such mechanisms are counterproductive, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

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Sri Lanka loses vote at UN Human Rights Council

The 55th Session of the Council takes place in Geneva from February 26 – April 5. During this Session, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will present an oral update on Sri Lanka on March 4, as mandated by the HRC Resolution 51/1. (Colombo/Feb28/2024)

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