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Wednesday June 19th, 2024

Shambolic mitigation methods worsening Human-Elephant Conflict

Uncoordinated and unorganized methods of mitigating the Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC), has resulted in increasing the conflict rather than providing a solution, one of Sri Lanka’s foremost elephant experts Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando said.

Addressing a lecture on HEC in Colombo last evening (14), Dr. Fernando pointed out how mitigation methods such as elephant translocation, elephant drives, holding grounds, electric fences and elephant thunders which Sri Lanka has been practicing for years, had been extremely detrimental to the elephants.

Speaking of elephant translocation, which is done with the intention of moving the problem causing adult male elephants to another place, Dr. Fernando said that it has not given the expected outcome.

“We have monitored around 20 -25 elephants who were translocated. They were translocated to a park. But there was one thing that all the elephants really did. They left the park and not a single elephant stayed in the nice beautiful park to where they were released. We also saw that some of the elephants who were released got killed. Therefore, the translocation of the problem causing adult males actually creates HEC and can be detrimental to the elephant,” Dr. Fernando said.

Dr. Fernando further said that the elephant holding grounds, introduced by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) in order to avoid the shortcomings of elephant translocation, has not provided a viable solution to HEC either.

“DWLC came up with a new idea and it is an elephant prison. It is not called a prison but that is what it is. We monitored an elephant that was put into the holding ground in Horowpathana that was a very big male and he died of starvation in the holding ground. And if you talk to the people around this holding ground they claim that HEC has gone up drastically in the Horowpathana after the holding ground was built,”

Explaining further, Dr. Fernando pointed out that elephant drives, which involves removing all elephants from their habitats for irrigation development, has caused adverse effects on elephants.

“Elephant drives are done to remove all elephants and are usually done in conjunction with irrigation development projects. In elephant drives, we observed that you cannot chase the problem causing adult males. what you can drive are the female and young ones. But females and the young ones are not the ones that cause the problems. So one of the main reasons we have such a high level of conflict in Sri Lanka are these elephant drives,”

“Which of these mitigation methods address the problems the elephants have? None. These only address the problems the people face. Although there are two sides to the conflict we only focus on one side only on the people’s side. As a result of this conflict mitigation, elephants are harassed out of their lives. They lead a life of fear.”

Expressing his opinion on the possible ways of minimising the HEC, Dr. Fernando said that first of all the perspective of the people.

“The biggest question is how do we perceive it? If we only perceive it as a conservation problem, we will never be able to address it. We need to think of it as a development problem because it is development that causes conflict. Elephants have very few needs. They want to live and that’s all that they ask for. If we take the proper road, we change the human-elephant conflict into human-elephant coexistence,” Fernando added.

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Central banks expect to increase gold reserves after buying 1,037 tonnes in 2023: Survey

ECONOMYNEXT – About 29 percent of central banks in the world intended to increase their gold reserves in 2023, up from 24 percent in 2023 and just 8 percent in 2019, a survey by the World Gold Council showed.

“The planned purchases are chiefly motivated by a desire to rebalance to a more preferred strategic level of gold holdings, domestic gold production, and financial market concerns including higher crisis risks and rising inflation,” the WGC said.

About 81 percent of 70 central banks that responded to the survey expected global central bank holdings of gold to go up, from 71 percent in 2023.

While in prior years, gold’s “historical position” was the top reason for central banks to hold gold, this factor dropped significantly to number five this year.

This year, the top reason for central banks to hold gold is “long-term store of value / inflation hedge” (88%), followed by “performance during times of crisis” (82%), “effective portfolio diversifier” (75%) and “no default risk” (72%).

Concerns about sanctions were listed as by 23 percent of emerging market central banks (0 advanced).

De-dollarization as a reason to hold gold gained ground, but was not among the main reasons.

About 13 percent of emerging market central banks listed de-dollarization as one of the reasons to buy gold up from 11 percent last year and 6 advanced nations said the same from zero last year.

Around 49 percent of central banks expected gold reserves to be moderately lower five year from now in the 2024 survey, against 49 percent in 2023 and 38 percent in 2022.

About 13 percent of central banks surveyed said US dollar reserves would be significantly lower in the 2024 survey, up from 5 percent in 2023 and 4 percent in 2022. (Colombo/June18/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 304.75/305.40 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed weaker at 304.75/305.40 to the US dollar Tuesday, down from 304.15 to the US dollar Friday, dealer said, while some bond yields edged up.

Sri Lanka’s rupee has weakened amid unsterilized excess liquidity from earlier dollar purchases.

Excess liquidity fell from as high as 200 billion rupees, helped by some sales of maturing bills and also allowing some term contracts to run out.

However the central bank has started to inject liquidity again below its policy rate to suppress interest rates.

On Tuesday 30 billion rupees was printed overnight at an average yield of only 8.73 percent.

Separately another 25 billion rupees was printed till June 25 at 8.09 percent to 9.05 percent, which was still below overnight the policy rate of 9.5 percent.

Nobody has so far taken the central bank to court for printing money beyond overnight at rates lower than the overnight rate.

Sri Lanka operates an ad hoc exchange rate regime called ‘flexible exchange rate’ which triggers panic among market participants, as the central bank stays away when spikes in credit either creates import demand or unsterilized credit is used up.

“If large volumes of unsterilized liquidity is left, the exchange rate has to be closely defended to prevent speculation involving early covering of import bills and late selling of exports proceeds,” EN’s economic columnist Bellwether says.

“Just as an appreciating or stable exchange rate leads to late covering of import bills, a falling rates leads to immediate covering of import bills.

“Keeping exchange rates stable is a relatively simple exercise but it is difficult to do so if short term rates are also closely targeted with printed money, as liquidity runs out, as if the country had a free float and no reserve target.”

“When there is a large volume of excess liquidity remaining (except those voluntary deposited for long periods by risk averse banks) the the interest rates structure is under-stated compared to the reported reserves.

“Interest rates would be a little higher than seen in the market if the liquidity was mopped up and domestic credit and imports were blocked to prevent the reserves from being used up.”

In East Asia there is greater knowledge of central bank operational frameworks, though International Monetary Fund driven flawed doctrine are also threatening the monetary stability of those countries, critics say.

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Vietnam selling SBV bills to stabilize the Dong, as Sri Lanka rupee also weakens

Sri Lanka’s rupee started to collapse steeply after the IMF’s Second Amendment in 1978 along with many other countries as flawed operational frameworks gained ground without a credible anchor.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.10/30 percent up from 10.05/30 percent Friday.

A bond maturing on 15.10.2027 closed at 10.60/57 flat from 10.60/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 11.15/35 percent, up from 11.05/20 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 11.80/90 percent unchanged.

A bond maturing on 15.10.2030 closed at 11.90/12.00 percent.

A maturing on 10.12.2031 closed at 11.95/12.10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed at down at 11.95/12.10 percent, down from 12.00/10 percent. (Colombo/Jun14/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber links up with Gujarat Chamber

ECONOMYNEXT – The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has signed an agreement with the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) to increase trade cooperation between India and Sri Lanka.

The MOU was signed by CCC CEO Buwanekabahu Perera, SGCCI President Ramesh Vaghasia, in the presence of Dr Valsan Vethody, Consul General for Sri Lanka in Mumbai, India.

“With the signing of the MoU, … the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and SGCCI aim to facilitate trade between the two countries via initiatives such as trade fairs and delegations, business networking events, training programmes,” the Ceylon Chamber said in a statement.

“This partnership will open doors for Sri Lankan businesses to explore opportunities in Surat’s dynamic market and enable the sharing of expertise and resources between the two regions.”

Established in 1940, SGCCI engages with over 12,000 members and indirect ties with more than 2,00,000 members via 150 associations. It promotes trade, commerce, and industry in South Gujarat.

The region’s commercial and economic centre Surat has risen to prominence as the global epicenter for diamond cutting and as India’s textile hub, and is ranked the world’s 4th fastest growing city with a GDP growth rate of 11.5%

Surat’s economic landscape is vibrant and diverse. As India’s 8th largest and Gujarat’s 2nd largest city, it boasts the highest average annual household income in the country.

The nearby Hazira Industrial Area hosts major corporations like Reliance, ESSAR, SHELL, and L&T. (Colombo/Jun18/2024)

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