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Tuesday February 27th, 2024

Sri Lanka expects US$400mn swap from Reserve Bank of India in August: CB Governor

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka can draw down on a 400 million US dollar foreign exchange swap with the Reserve Bank of India in August 2021, as part of measures to boost reserves, Central Bank Governor W D Lakshman said.

Sri Lanka originally signed the swap deal available to SAARC countries in 2020 and repaid it in February 2021 after rolling it over once.

“There are a couple of more drawings available,” Governor Lakshman told reporters. “After the completion of the first couple, we have to wait for a certain cooling-off period of six months.

“So this is going to be available in August.”

A swap with the Bangladesh banks which had been approved was also progressing with “rapidity” with requirements being fulfilled.

He said it could come as early as one month. Sri Lanka has to pay a billion US dollar sovereign bond in July 2020. Sri Lanka had 4.4 billion US dollars of reserves in April 2021. (Colombo/June11/2021)

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All major party leaders Sri Lanka remained unpopular in January: poll

ECONOMYNEXT — All major party leaders in Sri Lanka continued to show negative favourability ratings in a January 2024 poll indicating continued unpopularity, with leftist leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake increasing his favourability by 12 points to -10.

The poll, run by the Institute for Health Policy (IHP), showed that favourability of opposition leader Sajith Premadasa declined by 9 points to -53 in January, while President Wickremesinghe’s also dropped by 9 points to -77.

The IHP said in a statement on February 22 that favourability estimates for each month are based on 100–500 interviews conducted during that month and during a few weeks before and afterward to ensure a minimum set of responses. The January 2024 estimates are based on 376 (Premadasa), 346 (Dissanayake), 361 (Wickremasinghe), and 121 (former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa) interviews.

According to the IHP, its Sri Lanka Opinion Tracker Survey (SLOTS) surveys a national sample of adults (ages 18 and over) reached by random digit dialling of mobile numbers, and others coming from a national panel of respondents who were previously recruited through random selection.

SLOTS tracks favourability by asking respondents if they have a favourable or unfavourable opinion of a public figure or institution: net favourability being the average of the positive (+100) and negative (-100) responses. All
estimates are weighted to match the national population with respect to age, sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sector, province and past voting preference. Monthly estimates are based on samples of 100+ interviews pooled from interviews in each month and from weeks before and afterwards. As the January update uses a more recent data set than the previous update, there are small changes in estimates of favourability ratings for previous months.

According to the institute, the SLOTS survey has previously been funded by the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust, the UK National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), The Asia Foundation in Sri Lanka, and others.

“Current field work is financed by the IHP Public Interest Research Fund and others. The sponsors play no role in the study design, analysis, or interpretation of findings. Furthermore, the survey findings do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of past and present funders. Interested parties can contact IHP for more detailed data and results,” it said in the statement. (Colombo/Feb27/2024)

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Sri Lanka to seek private investments in water sector

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is looking to form public private partnerships in the water sector, specifically to focus on rural water supply, Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Jeevan Thondaman has said.

“Not privatization, but public private partnerships,” Thondaman said at a press briefing on Monday. “When we enhance private sector participation, we create a more competitive industry with better quality and cheaper prices.”

A water tariff formula, which will be reviewed annually or bi-annually, has been formulated and will be submitted to the cabinet, parliament and COPE committee, he said.

“Once this is in place, we will be able to attract investors to come on board. The water sector till now has not had a PPP model. We want to bring in private public sector partnerships in rural communities’ water supply; we believe they will be able to work hand in hand with community-based organizations to provide water to those who need it.

“I can give you one example, when you look at the water bottle that is being manufactured by the Water Board, you will see it’s from the Hanthana Estate; but people in Hanthana Estate still don’t have drinking water. There has been a top to bottom approach. Now we want to go rural first.

Most projects in the water sector had stalled post-crisis, Thondaman said, and the priority now was to resume them before attracting further investment into the sector. The minister said that there had been discussions with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Asian Development Bank. (Colombo/Feb27/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee opens stronger at 310.50/75 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee opened at 310.50/75 to the US dollar Tuesday, from 310.80/311.00 on Monday, dealers said.

Bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 was quoted at 10.85/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 was quoted at 11.75/85 from 11.80/90 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 was quoted at 12.10/20 percent.

The Colombo Stock Exchange opened down; The All Share Price Index was down 0.04 percent at 10,607, the S&P SL20 was up 0.01 at 3,057. (Colombo/Feb27/2024)

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