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Sunday February 25th, 2024

Sri Lanka April 2022 exports hit record high amid forex shortages

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s exports hit an all-time high for April 2022 of 915.3 million US dollars up 11.87 percent from a year earlier, official data showed as the country grappled with the worst currency crisis triggered by the island’s soft-pegged central bank.

The April 2022 exports’ value is the highest, topping the 2020 and 2021 April month exports, the Sri Lanka Export Development Board said.

In April 2021, export revenue was 799 million US dollars.

The forex shortages coming from money printed by the central bank and yet another unsuccessful attempt to float the rupee had started to disrupt energy supplies to export firms.

“It must also be highlighted that efficient facilitation of the supply of fuel and energy to our exporters is imperative to keep this momentum going while appealing for an expedited solution to the current crisis,” Export Development Board Chairman Suresh de Mel said in a statement.

In the four months to April 2022, merchandise exports had increased 9.6 percent 4,165.2 million US dollars.

Major product sectors except for Tea and Spices & Concentrates; Apparel & Textiles, Coconut based products, Rubber-based products, Electronics & Electronic Components, Food & Beverages, Seafood and Ornamental fish had recorded increased exports.

Exports of apparel and textiles increased by 22.12 percent in April to 445.79 million US dollars.

Export earnings from tea in April 2022 which made up 12 pecent of merchandise exports, increased by 1.49 percent to 80.44 million. Export of bulk tea increased by 9.52 percent.

Export earnings from rubber and rubber products increased by 10.09 percent to 71.27 million dollars.

Exports to the US were up 23 percent to 84.1 million US dollars, exports to Germany were up 27 percent to 66.5 million US dollars and exports to India were up 10 percent to 59.4 million US dollars. (Colombo/May22/2022)

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Sri Lanka could get US$500mn from ADB in 2024

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka could receive 500 million US dollars in support from the Asian Development Bank in 2024 based on the progress of policy reforms, Country Director of the Manila-based lender, Takafumi Kadono said.

The ADB expect to go to its Board around March or April with a 100 million US dollar power sector loan subject to the cabinet of ministers of approving a revised electricity reform bill.

A 100 million dollar loan to support SMEs could also be approved in the early part of the year. Sri Lanka is setting up a credit guarantee agency to support credit for small firms.

A 200 million dollar credit for financial sector was also slated for the year. The ADB gave the first tranche of the financial sector policy loan late last year.

A $100mn for the water sector could also be approved later in the year.

Sri Lanka could get around 200 to 300 million US dollars a year at the lowest rate, or concessional ordinary capital resources (COL) rate of 2 percent.

The balance of would come at the ordinary capital resource rate linked to SOFR.

The ADB has also started work on a ‘Country Partnership Strategy’ for Sri Lanka covering the 2024-2028 period, Kadodo said. (Colombo/Feb25/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s multi-aligned foreign policy based on friendship: Min

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s multi-aligned foreign policy is based on friendship to all and enmity to none, its Minister of Foreign Affairs has said.

“Non-alignment means not becoming a bystander. Non-alignment means you are not forced or coerced into a camp to take sovereign decisions… you make your own choices. Whether it is commercial, security, regional or otherwise,” M U M Ali Sabry said on X (twitter).

“I have repeatedly stressed that sovereignty is the right to have your own opinion on what’s right and wrong, and to stand by your principles. Our multi-aligned foreign policy is based on friendship to all and enmity to none,” Sabry was quoting from his speech at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI) Foreign Policy Forum, on the theme ‘Reassessing Non-Alignment in a Polarised World’.

Sri Lanka is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The strategically located island has been increasingly walking a fine line between opposing global factions as it seeks to come out of a financial crisis. (Colombo/Feb24/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank Dec net down on tax provisions

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank of Ceylon reported profits of 6.9 billion rupees from the December 2023 quarter down 21 percent, despite an improvement in net interest income and lower provisions, amid a change in tax provisions.

Pre-tax profits were 8.89 billion rupees up from 2.4 billion rupees. There was a 6.4 billion tax reversal last year compared to a 1.7 billion rupee tax charge this year.

Commercial Bank reported earnings of 5.26 rupees for the quarter. For the year to December 2023 earnings were 16.07 rupees per share on total profits of 21.1 billion rupees, down 11.3 percent.

Net fee and commission income was down 1.2 percent to 6.1 billion rupees.

Net interest income went up 16.8 percent to 25.5 billion rupees, with interest income rising marginally by 1.3 percent to 73.0 billion rupees and interest expense falling 5.45 percent to 47.5 billion rupees.

Loans and advances to customers grew 4.06 percent to 1.17 billion rupees in the year to December. Debt and other financial instruments fell 10.5 percent to 649 billion rupees.

Financial assets measured and fair value through other comprehensive income was at 287 billion rupees, up from 117 billion rupees.

Impairment charges were 13.1 billion rupees, down from 19.6 billion rupees last year.

Gross assets were up 6.45 percent to 2.36 billion rupees. Net assets were up 5.51 percent to 214 billion rupees. (Colombo/Feb24/2024)

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