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Saturday April 20th, 2024

Lanka IOC raises fuel prices to fresh record high

ECONOMYNEXT – Lanka IOC, the Indian Oil Corporation unit in Sri Lanka raised petrol prices by 35 rupees a litre and diesel by 75 rupees from the mid night of Sunday amid sharp depreciation of the currency and high global oil prices.

Since the central bank on March 7 announced a flexible exchange rate, the rupee has fallen over 65 percent to around 335 rupees. The Lanka IOC already raised prices on March 11 and March 26.

The latest price hike will see the price of mostly used Octane 92 rising by 11.6 percent to a record 338 rupees a litre while auto diesel goes up by 35 percent to 289 rupees.

The Lanka IOC has been raising fuel prices in line with the global market price. It has increased prices four times since mid last year. The state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (Ceypetco) has yet to raise the prices in line with the Lanka IOC prices.

Ceypetco has raised the most used Octane 92 price to 254 rupees last month after the central bank allowed a flexible exchange rate while auto diesel price was increased to 176 rupees per litre.

Already many motorists turn to Ceypetco fuel stations for auto diesel which is sold 38 rupees less compared to Lanka IOC before the latest price hike, resulting in huge queues amid fuel shortage across the country.

Ceypetco has said it is facing a risk of heavy loss as the world crude oil price has been on the rise after the Russian bombing in Ukraine.

The Ceypetco chairman Sumith Wijesinghe on April 11 said the state-owned fuel retailer was losing between 800 to 1000 billion rupees a day as it was losing 110 rupees per litre of diesel sold and 52 rupees for a litre of petrol.

When prices are not raised and losses are financed with bank credit, which in turn is re-financed by the central bank through its 13.5 percent window, inflation goes up. The money printed to finance losses also creates forex shortages.

The dollar shortage has led to a lack of fuel and extended power cuts, crippling many industries related to manufacturing and transport, and disrupting the country’s economic activities. (Colombo/April 18/2022)

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Sri Lanka discussing giving extra land, water for Chinese oil refinery

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is in discussions with China’s Sinopec to give extra land and assure water supplies after the company decided to expand the capacity of a planned oil refinery in Hambantota, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

“There are concerns on how the water supply is going to be provided for the refinery,” Minister Wijesekera told reporters Friday.

The refinery will need more land and also revise conditions in a Board of Investment agreement, he said.

Read more
Sinopec to double capacity of new refinery in Sri Lanka’s Hambantota

Recommendations and decisions from Sri Lanka’s side had already been sent and Sinopec is expected to revert back in May.

“We are hoping to sign the agreement once everyone has agreed,” Wijesekara said.

The principle agreements are expected to be signed by June, he said.

The refinery could sell up to 10 percent of its output in the domestic market.

“There is no commitment by the government to purchase anything,” Minister Wijesekera said. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 302.00/50 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 302.00/50 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Friday, down from 301.50/302.00 a day earlier, dealers said.

There was increased demand for dollars after the central bank bought 715 million dollars from forex markets. In the previous two months it was buying on average about 200 million US dollars, leaving market participants and bank in a ‘oversold’ position.

There were some official dollars sales Friday dealers said.

READ Sri Lanka rupee quoted wide to US dollar as peg inconsistencies flare up

Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 11.30/40 percent down from 11.35/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.95/12.05 percent up from 11.90/12.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed stable at 12.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed stable at 12.30/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed stable at 12.40/50 percent. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close down, banks trade down

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

The broader All Share Index closed down 0.38 percent, or 44.80 points, at 11,753; while the S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.53 percent, or 18.46 points, at 3,456.

Turnover was at 1.4 billion. The diversified financials (Rs366mn) and banks (Rs266mn) sectors continued to see selling pressure.

“This was possibly due to uncertainty around the bond discussions,” market participants said.

With the exception of Sampath Bank Plc (up at 77.50) all other banks traded down in the day. Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc was down at 104.50, Hatton National Bank Plc was down at 188.50, and DFCC Bank Plc was down at 77.00.

LOLC Finance Plc saw the most trades and closed up at 6.40. Another LOLC company, Browns Investments Plc, also saw high traded volumes and closed up at 5.60.

Softlogic Capital Plc was up at 7.00, and Softlogic Holdings Plc was up at 11.20. A trading suspension imposed on SHL.N0000 was lifted effective today as the company submitted the annual report for the year ended 31st March 2023.

However, shares of the Company will remain in the Watch List “due to Qualified Audit Opinion and Emphasis of matter on going concern in the Independent Auditor’s Report in the Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31st March 2022.”

Dialog Axiata Plc, which announced its merger with Bharti Airtel Thursday, saw its share price close up at 11.90.

“There was some traction on index heavyweights,” market participants pointed out.

Top contributors to the APSI included Aitken Spence Plc (up at 134.50), Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc (up at 1,245.25, and Lion Brewery (Ceylon) Plc (up at 1,048.50).

There was a net foreign inflow of 5 million. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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