An Echelon Media Company
Thursday June 20th, 2024

Sri Lanka and India discuss fast tracking Indian Ocean naval, security deal

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj had discussed the need to fast track an agreement on freedom of navigation and security during bilateral talks on the sidelines of a conference on the Indian Ocean held in Vietnam.

Swaraj and Wickremesinghe had agreed that the Indian Ocean Conference, which is being held for the third successive year, is the best forum to hammer out an agreement on freedom of navigation, peace and security in the Indian Ocean, a statement from the Prime Minister’s office said.

The discussion had noted that in addition to the annual conference, more rounds of discussions are needed among stakeholders to reach their objectives quickly and in a more systematic way.

The main conference was initiated by India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Singapore.

The conference in Ha Noi is being held on the theme of developing a regional architecture.

Sri Lanka has already become a key cog in the Belt and Road architecture developed by China.

China is jointly owning and operating Hambantota port on a long term lease, for which it loaned over billion US dollars, but Sri Lanka was not able to operate profitably.

China also operates a container terminal in Colombo Port.

Though Sri Lanka called bids to operate a third terminal for which top international shipping lines, with Indian firms as consortium members responded the shipping ministry did not go ahead with the deal.

India is nervous about increasing Chinese investment in Sri Lanka’s port.

India is expected to take a stake in Mattala Airport, which was also built with Chinese debt and is making losses.

The third Indian Ocean Conference is being held in Vietnam, which has seen freedom of navigation restricted by China in the East Sea in what it says is its exclusive economic zone.

China has pressured Vietnam to stop oil exploration and regularly rams fishing boats operating off Lý SÆ¡n island in international waters that China has claimed. (Colombo/Aug26/2018)

 

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Sri Lanka shares debt management experience at global forum

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has shared its experiences at a forum on debt management to “provide lessons for others”, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe has said.

Semasinghe spoke on “The Role of Debt Management in Navigating Crises” at the 14th Debt Management Facility (DMF) Stakeholders’ Forum, in Livingstone, Zambia.

“I shared the experiences of Sri Lanka which can provide valuable lessons for others and explored the critical elements of capacity building and sound institutional practices in managing debt, particularly in the context of economic challenges,” Semasinghe said on X (twitter).

“Sri Lanka’s experience demonstrates that effective debt management is not just about managing numbers but also about building robust institutions and capacities.”

The journey underscores the importance of transparent, accountable governance and the need for international support and cooperation in times of crisis, he said.

“Sri Lanka prioritized addressing gaps in public debt management by drafting a consolidated Public Debt Management Act, ensuring clarity and legal robustness and establishing a centralized Public Debt Management Office with operational autonomy.

“The role of debt management in navigating crises is multifaceted and critical. Further, by investing in capacity building, adhering to sound institutional practices, and strategically managing debt restructuring and liability operations, countries can better withstand economic shocks and pave the way for sustainable recovery.”

Developing countries face severe debt distress as they are more vulnerable to external shocks, Semasinghe said, and “managing global debt requires coordinated international efforts on debt restructuring where necessary, timely fiscal policy adaptation and help sustainable economic growth.”

The state minister also pointed out the financial impact of climate change was an emerging challenge, as countries need investment to mitigate and adapt to climate impacts, “especially through non-debt creating inflows, which would require private capital mobilization.” (Colombo/Jun20/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes stronger at 305.10/30 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed stronger ahead of the long weekend at 305.10/30 to the US dollar on Thursday, up from 305.40/55 to the US dollar Wednesday, dealers said, while some bond yields edged up.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.45/80 percent, up from 10.35/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 11.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.00/15 percent, up from 11.95/12.35 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.12.2031 closed at 12.05/25 percent.
(Colombo/Jun20/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close up, JKH trade pushes turnover

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

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.19 percent, or 23.11 points, at 12,249; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed up 0.15 percent, or 5.33 points, at 3,610.

Turnover was 2 billion. Nearly half of this (Rs980mn) came from a crossing on John Keells Holdings Plc. The share closed down at 202.00.

“There were several crossings today which pushed turnover,” market participants said.

“Institutions and high net-worth activity drove the market, while the retail investors we feel are still about uncertain and adopting a wait-and-see approach.”

Melstacorp Plc was among the companies that saw active volumes (Rs194mn) in the day. The share closed up at 87.10.

Top contributors to the index included TeeJay Lanka Plc (up at 41.70), Sampath Bank Plc (up at 79.50), Hatton National Bank Plc (down at 201.00). Hayleys Plc (up at 105.00) and its subsidiary Hayleys Fabric Plc (up at 46.60) were also positive contributors. (Colombo/Jun20/2024)

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