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Wednesday February 28th, 2024

Sri Lanka chicken, egg production plunge amid soft-peg collapse

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s chicken meat production has collapsed 30 percent and egg output 40 percent as a currency collapse pushed up costs feed imports were blocked by foreign exchange shortages, an industry official said.

Sri Lanka is now going through the worst currency crises triggered by the island’s Latin America style intermediate regime central bank set up by a US money doctor in 1950.

“Small and medium farmers are leaving the business due to feed shortages and because big poultry companies are stopping buy back schemes,” Ajith Gunasekera, President of the All Island Poultry Association said.

Broiler meat output has fallen 30 percent to 12,000 metric tonnes a month from 18,000 metric and prices have shot up, he said.

A kilo of chicken is around 1,200 rupees from 460 rupee levels before economists started to print money to target an output gap by mis-targeting interest rates, and official inflation rose 39 percent in the year to May 2022.

Monetary Malnutrition

Sri Lanka’s central bank printed money for over two years to mis-target interest rates and collapsed the currency to 360 to the US dollar from 200, in a failed attempt to float the currency with a surrender requirement (forced sale of dollars to the central bank).

Though interest rates were raised in April forex shortages are continuing as attempts are made to enforce an unstable peg at 360 to the US dollar with borrowed dollars and money is printed to pay state worker salaries (Sri Lanka pegs rupee in both directions in May 2022 amid ‘float’).

The current economic problems come from applying floating rate monetary policy (liquidity injections or printing money from open market operations for stimulus) to a reserve collecting peg (flexible exchange rate).

Inflation and currency depreciation created by the central bank have put protein in particular out of reach of the less affluent pushing up malnutrition as had happened when the country’s economists who favour collapsing soft-pegs printed money in earlier occasions.

Basic starch in the form of rice has rise from 105 rupees a kilogram to 230 rupees a kilogram after the latest bout of money printing while people are losing jobs and wages are cut in the private sector.

Doctors at Lady Ridgeway, the country’s main children’s hospital have said they are seeing higher levels of malnutrition among children as the flexible exchange rate bites.

Sri Lanka’s economists have fiercely resisted changing the unstable soft-peg to a single anchor regimee such as a hard peg or a clean float with no reserves so that they could continue to intervene and depreciate the currency (REER targeting) to boost exports by destroying real salaries of workers.

The economists have destroyed the currency from 4.70 to US dollar in 1950 to 360 to the US dollar so far and have imposed trade and exchange control on the public who are net savers are unable to print money and cannot create monetary instability.

Of late expatriate workers are also being scapegoated for sending money to their families hit by inflation, outside official banking system linked to the non-credible pegged system.

Analysts have called for single anchor regime with strict laws to restrain the central bank’s independence to engage in ‘flexible’ policies maintain and monetary stability in the future. (Sri Lanka’s central bank needs accountability and restraint, not independence)

Eggs Production

Eggs which were around 18 to 25 rupees before the latest money printing bout have now shot up to 43 to 50 rupees.

Egg production has collapsed 40 percent, amid feed shortages.

Gunasekera said daily egg production which was around 700,000 to 800,000 and now fallen to around 400,000.

“Chicken are also laying fewer legs due to nutrition problems,” Gunasekera said “A chicken will usually lay about one egg a day but without proper feed they will lay fewer eggs.”

Egg prices are up partly due to high transport costs from Kuliyapititya where most of the large egg farms are located to Colombo, he said.

About 73 percent of the cost of raising broilers was feed.

Maize which was 40 to 45rupees a kilogram has now gone up to 80 to 90 rupees a kilogram but was there was no supply with the domestic Maha season harvest having failed due to a fertilizer ban.

Due to reduced paddy milling, rice polish is also not available.

Forex shortages from the non-credible peg has made it difficult to import maize or soya meal.

The industry is hoping to get some inputs from the Indian credit line. (Colombo/June18/2022)

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  1. Veerapuran Appu says:

    Sack the lot and employ Singaporeans to manage the economy. No corruption, 100% output. SRI LANKANS COULDNT ORGANiSE A PARTY IN A BREWERY

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  1. Veerapuran Appu says:

    Sack the lot and employ Singaporeans to manage the economy. No corruption, 100% output. SRI LANKANS COULDNT ORGANiSE A PARTY IN A BREWERY

Sri Lanka’s religious leaders need to cultivate harmony: Prez

ECONOMYNEXT – The responsibility of cultivating harmony rests significantly on the shoulders of religious leaders, Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has said.

“While politicians often pursue power, religious leaders strive to maintain their positions, frequently resorting to the perilous avenues of racism and bigotry. This unfortunate trend has plagued our country since the 1930s, yielding disastrous outcomes,” Wickremesinghe was quoted by his media division as saying at the ‘Religions to Reconcile’ national inter-religious symposium, organized by the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, held today (28) at the Bandaranaike International Conference Hall (BMICH).

“Our nation has endured the bitter consequences of racism and religious extremism, culminating in a devastating conflict.

“With the military conflict resolved, Sri Lanka’s political challenges are now receiving attention, necessitating a renewed focus on coexistence,” Wickremesinghe said, adding that steps are being taken to resolve land disputes, address the issue of missing persons, release certain individuals, and initiate a delimitation of powers.

The President’s speech:

Having acknowledged the intrinsic connection between religion and reconciliation, our nation has endured the bitter consequences of racism and religious extremism, culminating in a devastating conflict. Following the cessation of hostilities, our main objective has been to foster coexistence among all communities.

The responsibility of cultivating harmony rests significantly on the shoulders of religious leaders. It is imperative that we remain mindful of our intentions. While politicians often pursue power, religious leaders strive to maintain their positions, frequently resorting to the perilous avenues of racism and bigotry. This unfortunate trend has plagued our country since the 1930s, yielding disastrous outcomes that require no further explanation.

Take Singapore, for example, where the absence of racism and bigotry has contributed to its rapid development despite its diverse linguistic landscape. With the military conflict resolved, Sri Lanka’s political challenges are now receiving attention, necessitating a renewed focus on coexistence, a topic also being deliberated in Parliament.

Mr. Karu Jayasuriya, served as the Chairman of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Religious Affairs and Co-Existence when he was serving as the Speaker. This committee was established in response to conflicts involving Muslims in March 2018, as well as incidents in Galle in 2017 and Beruwela in 2014. Various proposals were put forth by these committees to address these issues, and consensus was reached on their implementation. It’s crucial that we uphold this agreement and continue working collaboratively to resolve these challenges.

Towards the close of last year, numerous Buddhist monks and Tamil leaders presented the Himalaya Declaration, a document we are currently adhering to. As we move forward, the final phase entails fostering synergy, particularly through discussions with Tamil political parties and MPs, aimed at addressing lingering issues. Steps have been initiated to resolve the matter of missing persons, with further updates forthcoming in the near future. Additionally, arrangements have been made for the release of certain individuals held in connection with these matters.

The primary concern at present revolves around the fate of the missing persons. To address this issue, we’ve presented and successfully passed a bill in Parliament to establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Numerous reports from Disappearance Commissions have been reviewed, and one report authored by Judge A.H.M.D.Nawaz was selected.

Following the approval of the draft for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged his support for these initiatives. Similar assistance is being extended by other nations as well, enabling us to advance these critical endeavours.

Addressing the on-going political challenges, our attention is directed towards resolving land disputes, particularly in regions like Jaffna where tensions persist between villagers and the Wildlife Department. Similar conflicts also arise in areas such as Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa, and Mahianganaya. We aim to address these issues through inclusive dialogue, involving all concerned parties. Furthermore, I have instructed to proceed in accordance with the 1985 map. Additionally, I anticipate meeting with Tamil MPs in Parliament next week to discuss these matters further. Following consultations with the security forces, agreements have been reached to release more land, providing a pathway forward in our efforts.

Another pressing issue is the delimitation of powers. A key demand is the empowerment of the 3rd list of devolution, with an emphasis on not interfering with police powers at present, leaving them open for future consideration. The Land Act is slated for presentation, and there are no objections to the delegation of other subjects in the 3rd list. However, securing the necessary consensus with other parties in Parliament to achieve a two-thirds majority remains crucial.

Simultaneously, discussions are underway regarding the implementation of the Provincial Board of Education. Proposals have been made to establish provincial professional training institutes in each province. Additionally, plans are underway to appoint provincial-level committees to lead the modernization of agriculture, establish a tourism board, and undertake related initiatives.

Additionally, the work of five provincial ministries is expected to be distributed among twenty ministries. This restructuring cannot simply resemble a general ministry, so officials are currently deliberating on adjusting their structure accordingly.

I eagerly anticipate addressing the final aspect of this matter, the decentralized budget, once all parties have convened. There’s also a call for a secondary board, akin to a Senate, which the government does not oppose. However, such an initiative would need to coincide with the framing of a constitution, potentially requiring a referendum. I also intend to engage in discussions on this topic with other party leaders.

These measures aim to lay the groundwork for a new era in our country. Religious leaders have been entrusted with significant responsibilities in this endeavour. I am confident that further discussions on these matters will yield fruitful outcomes.

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 310.00/15 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 310.00/15 to the US dollar Wednesday, from 310.25/50 on Tuesday, dealers said.

Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed at 10.60/80 percent from 10.60/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.00 percent up from 11.80/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.03.2028 closed stable at 12.00/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.20/50 percent from 12.25/50 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed stable at 12.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2031 closed at 12.55/75 percent down from 12.60/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.50/90 percent down from 12.55/13.00 percent. (Colombo/Feb28/2024)

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Sri Lanka Treasuries yields edge up after steep fall

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Treasury bill yields edged up across maturities at Wednesday’s auction with the 3-month yield up 09 basis points to 9.87 percent, data from state debt office showed.

The debt office sold 27.5 billion rupees of 3-month bills after offering 35 billion rupees.

The 6-month yield rose 09 basis points to 9.95 percent with 37.23 billion rupees of bills sold, after offering 47.5 billion rupees.

The 12-month yield went up 03 bis points to 10.05 percent, with 39.5 billion rupees of bills sold and 40 billion rupees offered.

Sri Lanka’s Treasuries yield have come down sharply in recent weeks.

The trend was partly helped by some banks which were earlier not buying into bills, starting to buy them.

Deposit in the central banks overnight window (private sector sterilization) has come down from around 200 billion to around 130 billion rupees in recent weeks.

Sri Lanka’s central bank in the past have triggered currency crises and eventual high corrective rates by not allowing Treasury bill yields to move when up private credit picks up and buying them into the balance sheet.

The resulting forex problems are then blamed on budget deficits (politicians) and current account deficits (mainly imports of the public usually petroleum, gold or cars).

The central bank can still buy Treasury bills outright from banks, term or overnight to inject money, alter rupee reserves of banks and encourage them to overtrade and trigger forex shortages, confidence shocks, capital flight and a second default, critics say.

The central bank recently lifted counterparty limits of standing facilities, which are given at the policy rate without a penalty unlike in countries with greater monetary stability.

In recent weeks the central bank has oversold bills outright and injected money long term and short term, though so far overall net injections have been deflationary. (Colombo/Feb28/2024)

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