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Tuesday July 23rd, 2024

Sri Lanka low-grown tea prices rise in July third week sale

Ceylon Tea auction data – July 3rd week

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s low-grown Ceylon teas prices rose to 1,639.42 rupees a kilogram in July third week auction, from the previous week’s record 1,629.93 rupees a kilogram, industry data showed, as the currency collapsed steeply following mistargeted interest rates and a botched float with a surrender requirement.

In the last week’s auction sale on July 20 low grown averaged 4.54 dollars a kilogram up from 2.94 dollars a year earlier. Global commodity prices have moved up due to US money printing, which tends to weaken the dollar.

At July 20 auction Low Grown BOP1 grade from Pothotuwa estate fetched 4,100 rupees a kilogram and Pothotuwa OP1 fetched 4,050 rupees a kilo, Ceylon Tea Brokers data showed.

In Sri Lanka Mercantilists and soft-peggers usually claim that inflation comes from imported prices. However, prices of all traded goods, whether imported or exported go up when the central bank prints money to depreciate the currency.

Global prices also go up in dollar terms (commodity booms) when the US Federal Reserve prints money. At the moment commodity prices are booming due to the so-called ‘Powell Bubble’ the worst since the Greenspan-Bernanke bubble which broke in 2008/2009.

In US dollar terms the national sale average on June 30 was 3.46 dollars a kilogram compared to 3.30 dollars a kilogram last year.

Low Grown leafy/Tippy variety had seen an increased demand selling 2.3 million kilograms compared to unchanged from the previous week.

The Ex-Estate has sold 0.54 million kg last week compared to 0.56 million kg in the previous week.

Low Growns

Low Grown attract the highest prices for Ceylon Tea.

In the July 20 week auction, the Low Grown Tea sale average was 1,639.42 down from 1,629.93 rupees in the previous week.

In dollar terms too prices had slipped to 4.54 dollars per kilogram, from 4.51 dollars in the June 01 sale.

BOP1’s Select best maintained whilst improved below best were firm to dearer. Others and poorer sorts too were fully firm.

OP1 Select best OP1 were firm whilst best and below best were marginally easier. Lower end teas maintained. Below best eased by 60 rupees per kilogram

OP Well-made sorts together with cleaner below best were fully firm to dearer. Others and poorer sorts were marginally lower.

OPA Well-made sorts together with cleaner below best followed OP counterparts. Others and poorer sorts were lower to last.

OPA Well-made sorts together with cleaner below best followed OP counterparts. Others and poorer sorts were lower to last.

PEKOE/PEKOE1 Select best teas maintained whilst full range of bold PEK’s were marginally lower. Cleaner below best teas were fully firm. Others were lower.

BOP Few selected invoices were firm on last. Others were irregularly lower.

BOPF Select best and best were marginally lower whilst others were considerably lower when compared to last.

FBOPF/FBOPF1 Few cleaner and tippy varieties held firm whilst all others marginally declined.

High Grown

The High Grown auction average was 1,270.26 rupees, down from 1,217.59.

In BOP teas, Best Western’s maintained. Below best were firm to 50 rupees per kilogram dearer. Plainer types moved up
by 40 rupees per kg and more.

Nuwara Eliya’s were easier by 30 rupees per kilogram. Uda Pussellawa’s were firm. Uva’s gained by 30-40 rupees per kilogram.

In the BOPF category, Best Western were firm. Below best and plainer types were selectively dearer. Nuwara Eliya’s
were lower. Uda Pussellawa’s were irregular following quality. Uva’s mostly firm.

Medium Grown

The Medium Grown auction average for the week was 1,192.50 rupees, down from 1,159.49 rupees a week before.

This week, BOPF’s select best gained whilst all others were firm.

In BOP1, Select best were lower by 100 rupees per kilogram. Teas at the lower end were firm.

OP1’s well-made teas lower by 200 rupees per kilogram. Best and below best appreciated by 50 rupees per kilogram. Lower-end teas were firm.

While the OP1’s all better types increased by 50 rupees per kilogram. Poorer sorts declined by the same margin.

OP/OPA in general, declined by 50-100 rupees per kilogram.

In the PEKOE/PEKOE1 – Select the best shed by 100 rupees per kilogram whilst all others dropped by 50 rupees per kilogram.

FBOP’s Select best lower by 200 rupees per kg. The best was firm. Below best moved up by 50 rupees per kg.

FBOP1’s Select best lower by 150 rupees per kilogram whilst all others are dearer by 50 rupees per kilogram.

CTC

High-grown BP1s gained substantially while PF1 moved up by 20 rupees per kilogram.

Mid-grown BP1s were dearer by 80 rupees per kilogram & more while PF1 gained by 50 rupees per kilogram.

Low-grown BPIs were generally firm while PF1 gained by 50 rupees per kilogram.
(Colombo/July 31/2022)

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  1. sacre blieu says:

    Very soon the Uva season will be upon the eastern hills and environment, which should see far better prices for those teas.

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  1. sacre blieu says:

    Very soon the Uva season will be upon the eastern hills and environment, which should see far better prices for those teas.

Sri Lanka to introduce digital program for foreign workers facing problems

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will introduce a digital program via smart phones for migrant workers to report any concerns while employed abroad, Minister of Labor and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara said.

“We will have a digital program that is accessible from their smart mobile phones where domestic workers can notify us if they have not got their salary or if they have fallen into some trouble,” Nanayakkara said in parliament on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka has sent 301,000 domestic workers and 360,000 skilled workers abroad, Nanayakkara said.

Several workers, especially domestic workers, face abuse at the hands of foreign employers.

Nanayakkara said that the government only receives 0.001 percent of complaints with regard to abuse.

“We can only act on complaints received from people who go through legal channels. We are educating those who go through the Foreign Employment Bureau on how to escalate complaints.” (Colombo/Jul23/2024)

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Sri Lanka cabinet approves apology from Muslims for COVID-19 cremation ahead of election

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal to tender apology for the grievance caused for ethnic minority Muslims due to the cremation of bodies during the Covid-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said.

The move comes ahead of the upcoming presidential poll in which Muslim votes are likely to become crucial for all candidates.

The government of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa led by current ruling party Sri Lanka Podujana Peremuna (SLPP) forced Muslims and Christians to cremate the dead bodies of those who died of Covid-19 in 2020.

The   Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which includes Islamic states globally raised the forced cremations issue at the 46th United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in February 2021 after the SLPP government rejected repeated requests by local and global Islamic bodies.

The policy was later reversed, but the move hit diplomatic ties with Middle Eastern and OIC nations which is the highest source of employment for Sri Lankan expatriates.

Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa later said the decision was based on expert advice. Rajapaksa who was seen as an anti-Muslim leader was heavily criticized for his decision ahead of 2020 parliamentary polls while his elder brother and then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa declined to discuss the issue with Muslim parties which asked to reverse the decision.

Hundreds of Muslims were cremated during the Covid-19 period before Rajapaksa government allowed a separate burial ground for Muslim Covid-19 victims in the Eastern town of Oddamavadi.

“A joint Cabinet Paper presented by Ministers Ali Sabry, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe & Jeevan Thondaman apologising for the grievance caused to the Sri Lankan Muslim community due to the cremation of bodies during the Covid-19 pandemic, approved by the Cabinet,” Minister Sabry  tweeted quoting Cabinet Spokesman.

Already President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Estate Infrastructure Minister Jeevan Thondaman had tendered an apology in the parliament. The latest cabinet move is a formal and official apology.

BURIAL OR CREMATION

Along with the apology, the Cabinet approved proposed law on burial or cremation of dead bodies on religious discretion.

“As stipulated in the guidelines published by the Ministry of Health on the Clinical Management of COVID19, cremation was made compulsory in removal of the dead bodies of the persons who died due to the COVID-19 virus. The decision created displeasure among the various religious groups and human right activists especially Muslim religious persons,” a government document on the cabinet decision showed.

“The studies made in this respect have been confirmed that the faeces and the urine are the primary source of transmission the virus but not with the safe burial. Therefore, in order to prevent arisen of such condition in future, attention has been drawn to introduce a law, a certain person or relations to be selected the burial or cremation of the dead person at their discretion.”

“Further, it has been seemed that introduction of new laws is appropriate to donate the dead bodies to the Medical Faculty, if necessary.”

“Accordingly, Cabinet of Ministers has approved the joint proposal presented by the Minister of Justice, Prison affairs and Constitution Reforms, Minister of Foreign affairs to instruct legal Draftsman in order to prepare a draft for the introduction of new law.”

Rajapaksa’s arrogant policy led the OIC and Middle East nations to reject Sri Lanka’s repeated requests for credit lines and loans to buy oil before the country collapsed following an unprecedented economic crisis in 2022.

Minister Sabry faced harsh criticism from human rights defenders and from members of the Muslim community for what they claimed was his silence in the face of the inhumane, unscientific decision by the Rajapaksa government.

The Rajapaksa government’s stubborn insistence on cremating Muslim and Christian victims of the Covid-19 virus was against the communities’ religious beliefs and drew widespread condemnation and concern of Muslim countries and leaders.

Rajapaksa, after the economic crisis hit the country, was forced to flee in the face of massive protests against him in July 2022. (Colombo/July 23/2024)

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Fireworks erupt in parliament over Sri Lanka’s VFS Global controversy

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s parliament erupted in heated debate after government legislators raised a privilege issue against Committee on Public Finance Chair Harsha de Silva, who last week tabled report on a controversial visa deal with the IVS-GBSVFS Global, consortium.

Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa questioned the propriety of raising a privilege issue against a Committee chairman, who was acting under powers derived from the Constitution, saying it amounted to challenging the Speaker himself.

Related Sri Lanka visa deal with IVS-VFS be cancelled or revised, forensic audited: COPF Chief

Sri Lanka’s Department of Immigration had awarded a visa issuing monopoly to IVS-GBS-VFS Global without tender which was charging 25 dollars per visa compared to an earlier 1 dollar by Mobitel, and it should be terminated or revised, de Silva said presenting a report earlier this month.

Privilege Over VFS Report

State Minister Shehan Semasinghe said de Silva had presented a defective and false report misleading parliament saying among other things that the report was unanimously approved by the COPF membership.

As a result, privileges of 16 members had been broken, and misleading a parliamentary committee was a punishable offence and de Silva should be referred to the privileges committee.

De Silva said he severally and individually rejected the charges and all views of the members were attached to the final report and he would stand down as COPF chair until the matter was decided.

“This was not done secretly. There were three weeks for members to respond,” de Silva said.

“There was a debate about the tourism arrival numbers, which was included. If I am to be imprisoned, do it. I am not afraid. Give me an opportunity and I will show how each word is true.

Semasinghe said there was no desire on the part of government members to remove de Silva from the COPF.

Government member Nimal Lanza said that he was under the impression that tourist arrivals had fallen due to the VFS deal but there was an increase this year. There was no desire to imprison de Silva, he said.

Verbal Exchange

Public Security Minister Tiran Alles said five years of data was given, and there was an increase in tourism arrivals. And after April there were 53,000 tourists under new categories, which brought revenues of 1.4 billion rupees.

The report was also attached as an addendum, de Silva said.

Minister Alles questioned why the Deputy Speaker was allowing a debate over the VFS deal which would now attract media headlines.

“If you are allowed, all our members must be allowed to speak,” he said.

Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said if competitive tenders were called, there would not have been a charge of 25 dollars per visa as Mobitel was charging only one dollar.

Premadasa said he was responding due to charges made against de Silva and claims that he had committed a punishable offence. The opposition leader questioned how his microphone was muted.

Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa said while it was fair to allow de Silva to respond to the initial charge, a long debate should not have been allowed on the matter and also the contents of the report.

“The second bad precedent is this. It is not important whether it is Harsha de Silva or not. There are many committees. Can the Chairman of a Committee be called over a privileges issue?

“Under the Constitution there are powers to make standing orders. It is implemented through the 1953 Privileges Act. The Chairmen have certain powers. The Chairman has acted under the limits of his powers.

Parliament Undermined

Minister Rajapakshe said while there may be errors in a report, the Parliament’s powers were diminished if privilege questions were raised against Chairmen of a committee who carried out there duties.

“There may be errors in the report. We have seen that. But I am raising a question on the constitution.

“In this way, in whatever Committee, if he did his official duties, if he is made an accused in another committee of the same parliament and there is an investigation, it is the parliament’s power that is degraded.

“So it is the confidence people have in the parliament that is reduced. There is a legal question here. The Chair should consider whether it is possible to raise a question like this

“Ultimately the final responsibility of all these Committees rests with the Speaker. It is the Speaker’s powers that are delegated to the Chairman of a Committee.

“So, this challenge is made against the Speaker. How is the Speaker doing this?

“If the next day, the COPE, or COPA issues a report, someone asks to put him in the punishment log (dandu kanda) or to do whatever and calls him to the privileges committee.

“What are you going to ask at the Privileges committee? What punishment are you going to give? (Colombo/July23/2024)

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