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Wednesday February 1st, 2023

Sri Lanka bank dollar surrender rule hiked to 25-pct

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s banks have been ordered to surrender 25 percent of dollars sold by customers to the central bank up from an existing 10 percent, in a direction issued to chief executives.

The rule will be effective from December 27.

Up to now banks were ordered to sell 10 percent of dollar receipts to the central bank.

Exporters were previously ordered to sell all dollars received after deducting dollars for inputs and debt repayments.

Similar rules are found in other countries with flexible exchange rates (downward crawling soft-pegs) where the central banks print money.

The central bank is also offering an extra 10 rupees above the 200 rupees to the US dollar official rate for dollars converted by expatriate workers until January 31, 2022.

Sri Lanka’s forex reserves fell to 1.58 billion US dollars in January after the central bank provided convertibility to printed money.

As convertibility was progressively reduced to new rupees, parallel exchange rates emerged. Now kerb market rates are around 240 and Hawala/Undiyal outward remittances are around 250 rupees to the US dollar.

By November money printing through bond auctions were halted and now liquidity is injected through the sterilization of limited interventions. (Colombo/Dec27/2021)

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Sri Lanka bond yields down at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were down at close following a bond auction on Wednesday, dealers said while a guidance peg for interbank transactions remained unchanged.

“The rates were steady at the auction,” a dealer said.

“This can be a signal to the market saying the rates will go down in the future.”

A bond maturing on 01.07.2025 closed at 32.40/60 percent, down from yesterday’s 32.60/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2027 closed at 29.10/35 marginally down from yesterday’s 29.20/75 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank US dollar transactions remained unchanged at 362.14 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers at 371.38 rupees on Friday, data showed. (Colombo/Feb 01/2022)

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Sri Lanka bill auction hits pothole after 2025 bond spike

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka sold only 45 billion rupees in Treasury bills at Wednesday’s auction after offering 120 billion rupees, data from the state debt office showed, amid market confusion over a spike in a two year bond at an earlier action.

30.1 billion rupees of 3-month bills were sold at 29.91 percent, unchanged from a week earlier after offering 60 billion rupees for auction.

5.1 billion rupees of 6-month bills were sold at 28.72 percent, flat after offering 30 billion.

10.3 billion rupees of 12-month bills were sold at 27.72 percent after offering 30 billion.

Phase II subscriptions have been opened.

The market was foxed after the 2025 bonds were accepted at sharply higher yield than market on January 30, dealer said.

There was further confusion as the there was an outright purchase of 2025 at around 29 percent earlier in January.

Some investors speculated that the authorities were trying to drive more buyers towards short end bonds as bill volumes were getting larger. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)

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Sri Lanka services exports down 5.9-pct in 2022

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s services exports were estimated to have fallen 5.9 percent to 1,876.3 million US dollars, the island’s Export Development Board said.

Services exports estimated is made up of ICT/BPM, construction, financial services, transport and logistics.

There are more than 500 ICT companies, the EDB said.

Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports were up 4.6 percent to US dollars 13.1 billion dollars in 2022 from 2021.

Sri Lanka’s goods exports are slowing amid lower growth in Western markets. (Colombo/ Feb 01/2023)

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