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Monday December 5th, 2022

Sri Lanka general election voting picking up after slow start, Colombo 26-pct: officials

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s voters are turning out to vote in the 2020 general elections by mid morning amid Coronavirus health rules after an initial slow start election officials said.

By around 1100 am on August 05, about 26 percent had turned out to vote in the capital district of Colombo.

“After an initial slow start people are turning out to vote,” District Secretary Pradeep Yasaratne told state-run Rupavahini television.

“In some polling booths it is as high as 30 percent but on average it is around 26 percent.”
People are following health guidelines and voting is peaceful he said.

Voters have to line up one meter apart, use hand sanitizer and wear a mask. They have to briefly remove the mask for identification.

Elections officials, who are behind a transparent plastic panel asks voters to place their finger on a disinfectant soaked piece of lint. They then paint the nail of a finger with indelible ink. The lint is then picked up and dropped on a box.

Voters have been also asked to bring a ball point pen if they can. Most are bringing their own pens, officials said.

In Galle turnout has been around 20 percent by mid-morning District Secretary Somaratne Vidanapathirana said.

MDR Pushpakumara, Nuwara Eliya District Secretary said about 24 – 29 percent had voted at various polling centres by around 1000 am. Polling may pick up after 1100 when estates give leave to workers, he said.

Turnout in Kandy was around 25 percent, Matatale 25 percent, Hambantota 24 percent by mid-morning.

In Sri Lanka a low turnout generally favours the incumbent administration. In general elections Sri Lanka has seen turnouts as low as 61 percent.

In the presidential election there was an 82 percent turnout.

Sri Lanka is going to vote amid an economic downturn. Data from the state statistics office showed the economy had contracted 1.3 percent in the first quarter of 2020.

Related

Sri Lanka elections open amid Coronavirus measures and economic downturn

Sri Lanka GDP contracts 1.6-pct in 2020 first quarter amid Coronavirus

More than 16.2 million are eligible to vote in the elections which will see 225 members elected, 196 directly and the balance from a national list.

(Colombo/Aug05/2020)

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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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