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Monday December 5th, 2022

Sri Lanka Bar Association, opposition, EU slam assault on protestors, UK, US concerned

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s top lawyers association has condemned assaults by security forces on peaceful protestors shortly after Ranil Wickremesinghe was made president while US envoy Julie Chung and UK High Commissioner Sarah Hulton expressed concern.

“The Bar Association strongly and unreservedly condemns the use of force and violence last night by authorities in attacking protestors at Galle Face in the vicinity of the Presidential Secretariat,” BASL chief Saliya Pieris said in a message calling for an inquiry.

“A cowardly assault against peaceful protestors, who agreed to vacate the sites today,” Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said.

“A useless display of ego and brute force putting innocent lives at risk & endangers Sri Lanka’s international image, at a critical juncture.”

Freedom of expression proved essential to Sri Lanka current transition,” the European Union said.

“Hard to see how restricting it severely can help in finding solutions to the current political and economic crises.”

US envoy Julie Chung called for restraint and medical treatment for injured protestors.

“Deeply concerned about actions taken against protestors at Galle Face in the middle of the night,” said in a message.

“We urge restraint by authorities & immediate access to medical attention for those injured.”

Read More Sri Lanka peaceful protest site raided as military called under emergency law

Protestors said they were assaulted while sources said 9 persons including one woman was admitted to hospital with minor injuries.

“Very concerned about reports from the Galle Face protest site, British High Commissioner Sarah Hulton said.

“We have made clear the importance of the right to peaceful protest.”

Police spokesman Nihal Thalduwa said persons who were occupying the Presidential secretariat and it environs were cleared to allow it to be used.

Newly appointed President Ranil Wickremesinghe in a gazette notice under emergency law called out troops overnight to support police.

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Sri Lanka’s shares gain in mid market trade

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares edged up in mid day trade on Monday (05), continuing the positive run for seven straight sessions on news over a possible debt restructuring from Paris Club, analysts said.

All Share Price Index gained by 0.69% or 60.10 points to 8,829, while the most liquid shares gained by 0.96% or 26.59 points to 2,801.

“The market was pushed up over the news of a potential 10 year debt moratorium,” analysts said.

The Paris Club group of creditor nations has proposed a 10-year debt moratorium on Sri Lankan debt and 15 years of debt restructuring as a formula to resolve the island nation’s prevailing currency crisis. 

Related – Paris Club proposes 10-year moratorium in 15-year Sri Lanka debt re-structure: report

The market generated a revenue of 2.1 billion rupees.

Top gainers during 1130 hours were Expolanka, Browns Investment and LOLC.  (Colombo/Dec05/2022)


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Sri Lanka bond yields slightly down

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were slightly down at open on Monday while t- bills were inactive, dealers said.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank transactions was at 363.18 rupees against the US dollar, appreciated from 363.19 rupees on Friday.

“Only one bond is being quoted today, and the rest remaining unquoted” a dealer said.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 quoted at 29.30/30.00 percent down from 29.50/75 percent at Friday’s close.(Colombo/ Dec 03/2022)

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Sri Lanka should prioritize RCEP , not small FTAs: economist

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka should make joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) a priority instead of trying to negotiate multiple smaller deals, an economist has said.

“We do not have the bandwidth in government and the technical resources to do multiple trade agreements,” Anushka Wijesinghe an economist who has been involved in trade told a business forum in Colombo.

“I think RCEP should be number one priority, rather than three or four tiny bilateral goods agreements.”

Sri Lanka is trying negotiate a free trade deal with China and expand an existing one with India.

Data show that Sri Lanka has been able to boost exports with FTAs.

Sri Lanka has high tariff protection which ultimately backfire.

Sri Lanka has protectionist business interests their profits from overpriced goods have had priority over ordinary consumers and overall economic efficiency that comes from free trade.

Sri Lanka also has monetary instability, which has worsened under flexible inflation targeting, with a series of currency crises coming in rapid successions.

Forex shortages from mis-targeted interest rates under flexible or discretionary monetary policies have discredited free trade and liberalization in general and strengthened the hands of economic nationalists, analysts say.

The country also has monetary instability, which makes life difficult not only for investors but all economic agents.

Over the past two decades Sri Lanka’s exports have not grown as much as competitors. (Colombo/Dec05/2022)

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