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Tuesday December 5th, 2023

Sri Lanka central bank advances more dollars to banks

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s central bank has advanced a total of 351 million dollars to commercial banks by February 2022 through swap contracts official data shows, with state banks in particular facing tight conditions.

Sri Lanka’s banks found it more difficult to renew counterparty credit lines as money printed to keep rates down and target an output gap, progressively depleted forex reserves and led to credit downgrades over 2020 and 2021.

By December about 204 million US dollars had been advanced mainly to state banks by the central bank, and more were given later.

Over March another 104.9 million dollars had been advanced by the central bank to banks, taking the total to 246.1 million US dollars.

“If you look at the banking system, all the banks are very stable in terms of capital adequacy,” Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe told reporters on April 29.

“Obviously the issue right now is the foreign currency liquidity in the banking system.

“There is a lack of foreign currency liquidity in the banking sector at different levels. So state banks are facing a higher liquidity shortage, and private banks are also facing forex liquidity shortage to a certain extent.

State bank have given dollar loans to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation during the current and previous currency crises. There were attempts to secure long term loans to back the CPC loans at one time.

Persistently low rupee yields and dollar liquidity shortages in balance sheets of banks led to sharply higher interbank dollar yields in Sri Lanka triggering discounts in the forward and swap markets at different times over the past year.

Governor Weerasinghe said the central bank also had low reserves and the country as a whole was facing dollar liquidity problems due to the overall balance of payments crisis and all the measures now being taken was to address the problem.

Rates have since been hiked and rupee yields have picked up.

Sri Lanka had also sought support from China to get dollar credits to the state banks.

“Minister Ali Sabry discussed the need for FOREX liquidity support for the state banks of Sri Lanka and requested if such can be provided by AIIB,” the Finance Ministry said.

Net open positions of several banks were negative at different times over the past two years, financial sources have said.

Bank have also bought domestic dollar debt with foreign borrowings also face problems when credit lines are not rolled over.

Over the past year many banks repaid market foreign borrowings and raised more dollars from depositors.(Colombo/May09/2022)

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Sri Lanka stocks close up as some investor interest returns

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Monday, CSE data showed.

The All Share Price Index was up 0.22 percent, or 23.33 points, at 10,743.59.

The S&P SL20 index was up 0.68 percent, or 20.60 points, at 3,067.73.

Turnover was at 708 million. The banks sector contributed 189 million, while the food, beverage and tobacco sector contributed 176 million of this.

Sri Lanka’s stock market has seen some investor interest return after last week’s news that the country had managed an agreement on a debt restructuring deal with an official creditor committee, and foreign funds for some development projects resumed.

Top positive contributors to the ASPI in the day were Sampath Bank Plc (up at 71.50), LOLC Holdings Plc (up at 379.00), and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, (up at 90.90).

There was a net foreign outflow of 52 million.

Citrus Leisure Plc, which announced that its banquet hall and revolving restaurant at the Lotus Tower would launch on or around Dec 9, saw its share price rise to 6.20 rupees. (Colombo/Dec4/2023).

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Sri Lanka rupee closes broadly steady at 328.10/30 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 328.10/30 to the US dollar on Monday, from 328.00/10 on Friday, dealers said.

Bond yields were stable.

A bond maturing on 01.06.2025 closed at 13.70/14.00 percent from 13.70/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 closed at 13.90/14.10 percent from 13.90/14.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 closed at 14.00/14.10 percent from 14.05/10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 14.20/35 percent from 14.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 14.25/45 percent, from 14.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 14.05/40 percent, from 14.00/45 percent. (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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Gov minister highlights abortion rights, sex-ed for children, and Sri Lanka men killing their women

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s legislators have politicized the topics of rape and violence without addressing the elephant in the room, Jeevan Thondaman, Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development said in parliament on Monday (4).

“All the members here are talking about rape. What happens after that? We must talk about abortion rights. That is not something anyone wants to touch on, and that is why we are in this place right now,” Thondaman said.

“Despite alarming statistics on rape and violence, women are often blamed and punished for it. The criminalisation of abortion is a major example of this.”

Sri Lanka has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. According to a 2016 estimate by the Health Ministry, he said, approximately 658 abortions take place a day, and close to 250,000 a year.

“That’s 250,000 women whose lives you are endangering.”

He added that what was needed at this point in time was comprehensive sexual education (CSE) for children and young people.

“Only through CSE in schools will children and young people develop, accurate, age appropriate knowledge attitude and skills; positive values such as respect for human rights, gender equality, diversity and attitude and skills that contribute to a safe, healthy and positive relationship.”

Thondaman pointed out that CSE plays a pivotal role in preparing young people for a world where HIV, AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, and sexual and gender based violence still pose a risk to their well-being.

“CSE basically empowers children take control and make informed decisions freely and responsibly.”

Thondaman also highlighted the findings of a 2021 study (Fatalities_20211109_UNFPA) by the UNFPA and the University of Kelaniya that showed that a majority of women killed in Sri Lanka were murdered by those close to them.

“62 percent of homicides of Sri Lankan women are committed by either an intimate partner, ex-partner or family member. 84 percent are killed in their own homes by someone they know.”

Police and the judiciary have failed Sri Lanka’s women, the minister pointed out.

“Only 5 percent of these cases, between 2013-2017, were ever concluded. Men claim they were provoked, or are of unsound mind or have mental illness: These have been successful defenses. And the Police often express sympathy to this narrative as opposed to the victim’s.”

“We have a history of protecting oppressors.”

It takes 7-10 years for a child rape case to conclude, he pointed out.

Establishment of child courts are needed, he said, as well as several legislative amendments. “The government is working on a new law to reform the domestic violence act, reform of marriage and divorce laws to ensure there is an easier path to divorce: no one should be forced to remain in a marriage that is either abusive or not healthy.” (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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