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Wednesday June 7th, 2023

Pay parking or the CMC will clamp your ride

Clamped car on Duplication Road in Colombo/WhatApp image

ECONOMYNEXT – If you find your parked car has its wheel clamped in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) area, that is because you have more than  three unpaid parking late fee notices.

The clamping is being done by powers granted to the CMC by the Western Provincial Council.

In the extra-ordinary gazette notification No 2029/29 which was issued in 2017 under the Western Province Provincial Council states that the CMC has the authority to clamp vehicles with 3 or more unpaid parking tickets.

Speaking to EconomyNext the Engineer of the Traffic Division of CMC Manjula Udalamatthe said that they have already clamped 6 vehicles this week and all the cases have more than 40 parking fee violations.

He said although the law has given them the power to clamp vehicles with more than three parking fee violations, they started clamping vehicles with a higher number of unpaid parking tickets.

Explaining the process in which these vehicles with unpaid parking fees are identified, Udalamatthe said that the CMC has implemented a smart parking system as a pilot project on the Galle Road from Fort to Wellawate, Duplication Road and the connecting byroads, where the driver of the vehicle have to pay the parking fee as soon as the vehicle is parked.

The payments can be made through the mobile App ‘ Tenaga Park Smart’, SMS and the terminals available at the parking spot.

So when a payment is made the number of the vehicle is updated in the system, if a vehicle has not paid the fee those vehicles can be identified once the number plate of the vehicle is scanned.

Once a vehicle is identified a red notice will be placed on the vehicle informing the owner the fine for not paying the fee, which could be double the parking amount up to two hours from the time the notice is issued.

But he said that the fine will increase further where it could be 1500 rupees up to 28 days.

Also, he said from the vehicles that were clamped owners had to pay amounts ranging from 60,000-90,000 rupees in fines to the CMC in order to get their vehicles released.

He  added that if the owners fails to get their vehicles released within a certain period after being clamped, yard charges also will be added to the fine as CMC will tow the vehicle to the yard.

Udalamatthe said that from the approximately 28,000 vehicles registered in the system only 6000-7000 vehicles have been neglecting the parking fees at the end of last year.

He believes this number will further reduce after this month.

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Sri Lanka’s shares slip on profit taking and selling pressure

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares closed lower on Wednesday after four consecutive gains in previous sessions spiraled into selling interest and profit taking, an analyst said.

The main All Share Price Index was down 0.28 percent or 24.39 points to 8,722.06, this is the lowest the index has been since May 02, while the most liquid index S&P SL20 was down 0.40 percent or 9.92 points to 2,468.44.

“The market was gaining in the previous sessions and there is selling and profit taking present today, due to continuously being on green,” an analyst said.

In the previous sessions the market was seeing gains, due to lowered policy rates and low inflation stimulating buying interest and driving the sentiment up, an analyst said.

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.

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.

“There are gradual improvements in the market sentiment, with positive sentiments coming in from lowered policy rates and inflation,” an analyst said.

The market generated foreign inflows of 12 million rupees and received a net foreign inflow of 18 million rupees, due to low share prices and discounted shares followed by a dividend announcement.

The market generated a revenue of 554 million rupees, this is the lowest the turnover has been since May 10, while the daily turnover average was 1 billion rupees. From the total generated revenue, the banking sector contributed 120 million rupees, Diversified Banks contributed 115 million rupees and the Capital Goods Industry generated 78 million rupees.

Top losers during trade were Sampath Bank, Commercial Bank and Aitken Spence. (Colombo/June06/2023)

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Sri Lanka Treasuries yields plunge, 12-month down 318bp

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Treasuries yields plunged across maturities at Wednesday’s auction with the 12-month yield falling 318 basis points, in one of the biggest one day falls, data from the state debt office showed.

The 3-month yield fell 244 basis points to 23.21 percent.

The 6-mont yield fell 339 basis points to 21.90 percent, along with the 12 months to 19.10 percent.

The short-term yield curve is inverted.

The central bank last week cut its policy rate 250 basis points in a signaling move but is not printing money to enforce the rate cut.

The debt office sold all 140 billion rupees of offered securities. (Colombo/June07/2023)

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Sri Lanka forex reserves rise US$722mn in May 2023

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves grew 722 million US dollars to 3,483 million US dollars in May 2023 from 2,761 million US dollars in April, official data showed amid weak credit and better inflows.

Sri Lanka lost almost all its reserve in over two years as the central bank sold reserves and printed money to keep rates down (sterilized reserves sales) including borrowed dollars from India.

Gross official reserves fell to a low of 1,705 million US dollars in September 2022.

Sri Lanka’s central bank hiked rates in April 2022 to slow credit and also stopped printing money after it ran out of borrowed Asian Clearing Union dollars from India.

Sri Lanka’s gross official reserves are made up of both monetary reserves of the central bank and any balances of the Treasury account from loans or grants it gets.

The central bank’s net foreign reserves are still negative after busting up borrowed reserves to suppress rates. By April (before the collection of reserves in May) the central bank’s net reserves were negative by 3.7 billion US dollars.

In May alone 662 million US dollars were bought from the market, Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said.


No pre-determined level to stop Sri Lanka rupee appreciation: CB Governor

Borrowing dollars through swaps and busting them up, was invented by the US Federal Reserve as it was printing money and breaking the Bretton Woods system in the early 1970s.

Sri Lanka received a 350 million US dollar tranche from the Asian Development Bank and 331 million US dollars from the IMF to the Treasury for budget support.

The loans can be sold to the central bank by the government to generate rupees and spend. However, since credit is weak, not all the inflows go out of the country particularly as the central bank is conducting deflationary open market operations on a net basis.

By allowing the rupee to appreciate unlike in previous episodes of recovery in an IMF program, after a bout of money printing, the central bank is bringing down inflation – in some cases absolute prices – and restoring confidence and easing the ‘pain’ of ‘monetary policy’ or stimulus.


Why is Sri Lanka’s rupee appreciating?

Though exports are falling, tourism revenues are also picking up.

The budget support loans, tourism receipts less the reserve collected will widen the trade deficit. Building foreign reserves involves lending money to the US or other western nations and is similar to repaying foreign debt. (Colombo/June07/2023)

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