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Tuesday May 30th, 2023

Global finance trade forum goes ahead in Sri Lanka as security improves

ECONOMYNEXT – A global association of financial market professionals is going ahead with plans to hold their world congress in Sri Lanka in October as security had improved after Easter.

Sunday’s suicide bombings, its chief said.  Bruno Langfritz, chairman of Paris-based Association Cambiste Internationale (ACIFMA), the

Financial Markets Association, said the congress would help focus attention on Sri Lanka’s plans to become a financial hub in the region.

“When the Easter Sunday attacks took place, everyone called for cancelling of the congress,” he told a news conference held to announce the ACI Financial Markets Association World Congress from the 3rd to 5th October in Colombo. 

 “But it was not cancelled as we know that this can happen in any place in the world,” Langfritz said. “It happens in France, in Belgium, it can happen in Switzerland, where I’m from.”

The April attacks on churches and hotels by Islamist extremists killed over 250 people, including tourists.
Langfritz said he felt comfortable with security measures taken by Sri Lanka, including its hotels.

“I have experienced many security issues because I’ve been travelling a lot. I see how strict controls are now in front of hotels. It is much better than the ones in south east Asia. I feel safe.”

Shanaka Perera, president Sri Lanka Forex Association, which will host the event, said it will demonstrate that Sri Lanka is very much open for business in terms of conference tourism.

“Sri Lanka is striving to become a regional financial centre, through the port city financial centre which this conference will highlight,” he said.

About 200 foreign delegates are expected for the forum.

The October global congress by the ACI, which has over 8,000 international members, will bring together financial market professionals, regional regulators, policy makers, think tanks, investors and corporate.

The keynote address will be delivered by Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Indrajit Coomaraswamy.

Other speakers include Minister of Economic Reform and Public Distribution Harsha de Silva, 

Head of Capital Markets of PWC Martin Liebi, Associate Professor Faculty of Business & Economics of University of Hong Kong Tuan Q Phan, and Global Economist Standard Chartered Bank David Mann.
(COLOMBO, 24 July, 2019)

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Sri Lanka’s stocks end over one-month low on weak macroeconomic sentiments

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares end lower on Tuesday as selling pressure continues while investors continues for more clarity on local debt restructuring, an analyst said.

The main All Share Price Index (ASPI) was down 0.50 percent or 42.52 points to 8,532.60, the lowest since April 27.

The most liquid index was up 0.14 percent or 3.42 points to 2,418.90.

“Investors are adopting a wait and see approach on the need for more clarity on debt restructuring and debt optimization and decisions taken at the Policy Review Meeting,” an analyst said.

Sri Lanka’s government was to disclose the stance on domestic debt restructuring towards the end of May, which is why investors have adopted a wait and see approach, however officials have stated there will be a delay in the process of revelation. 

A news article circulating says, non-agreement on the percentage of haircut that the external creditors would take in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring has taken the Central Bank to the drawing board which has led to the delay in announcing the debt restructuring strategy. 

Sri Lanka’s Monetary Policy Review is scheduled for 01 June 2023, investors are quite optimistic that inflation is to lower and interest rates will decrease, an analyst said.

Analysts said the low volumes seen in the market are due to the debt restructuring concerns, and investors are waiting for the monetary policy review for the next month.

“Stocks went down due to selling pressures resulting from relaxed import restrictions, which are expected to reduce the monopolistic powers held by domestic retailers,” an analyst said.

The main reason for the market’s negative sentiment is the loss of monopoly as import restrictions ease, an analyst said.

The market generated revenue of 575 million rupees, while the daily average turnover was 1.2 billion rupees.

Top losers during trade were Vallibel One, Ceylon Tobacco Corporation and Elipitiya Plantations.

The market generated a foreign inflow of 33 million rupee and the net foreign inflow was 112 million rupees. (Colombo/May 29, 2023)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 293.50/294.50 to dollar , bond yields steady

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at stronger at 293.50 /294.50 against the US dollar in the spot market on Tuesday, while bond yields were unchanged, dealers said.

The rupee closed at 296.75 /297.25 to the US dollar on Monday after opening around 296.50 /297.50 rupees.

A bond maturing on 01.09.2027 closed at 26.50/65 percent unchanged from Monday’s close.

Sri Lanka’s rupee is appreciating amid negative private credit which has reduced outflows after the central bank hiked rates and stopped printing money. (Colombo/ May 30/2023)

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Sri Lanka food producers on countdown; 6-months to reduce trans fat content

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan food manufacturers only have another six months to reduce the amount of trans fat in food items as the government plans to ban high trans-fat food from January 2024 onwards, an official said.

“A six-month grace period has been given to existing manufacturers, sellers and distributors whose products contain trans-fat,” an official of the Ministry of Health told EconomyNext requesting anonymity.

According to a Ministry of Health gazette issued on… a person shall not sell, offer for sale, expose or keep for sale or advertise for sale, any packaged food product containing trans-fat unless the total amount of trans-fat of such food product per 100 grams or 100 milliliters of the food product is declared on the label of such packaged food product.

However, these regulations will not be applicable for export oriented food products.

Trans-fat is a type of fat that has certain chemical properties and is usually found in processed foods such as baked goods, snack foods, fried foods, shortening, margarine, and certain vegetable oils.

Eating trans-fat increases blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has praised Sri Lanka for enacting a legislation on trans-fat to protect health and prevent premature deaths from coronary heart disease, a statement from the WHO said.

“Eliminating trans-fats from food supplies is a cost-effective measure with enormous health benefits,” the statement quoting Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia said.

“By enacting legislation on trans-fat, Sri Lanka has once again demonstrated its resolve to protect and promote the health of its people”.

The regulations are coming into effect as Sri Lanka is struggling with food insecurity as the country recovers from its worst economic crisis.

However, an improvement in food security across all provinces has been recorded, according to an assessment by a Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) of two UN agencies. (Colombo/ May 30/2023)

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