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Wednesday June 19th, 2024

Sri Lanka needs US$1,285mn for three months of oil, US$500mn from India: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka needs 1,285 million US dollar for oil imports in the next three months, of which 500 million will come from an Indian credit line, Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said, as the country grappled with forex shortages and global prices went up.

“For the next three months we have forecasted 1,285.5 million US dollars for oil imports,” Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said.

“We hope to get 500 million dollars from the credit line from India. We are talking to others we will tell parliament when we finalize them.”

The 500 million dollar credit line to be activated in April is a one year facility at 2.5 percent.

India this month gave consignment of diesel on an appeal by Sri Lanka ahead of the credit line being used officially.

He said oil prices were around 40 to 45 US dollars a barrel in 2020, about 55 to 65 in 2021 are around 90 to 100 million dollars in 2022 so far with Russian invasion of Ukraine pushing prices up, he said.

Brent crude had moved up to 101.40 dollars as he spoke.

As of February 24, Sri Lanka had following stocks of fuel:

Petrol 92 – for 10 days

Petrol 95 -for 40 days

Lanka Auto Diesel 08 days

Super Diesel – 8 days

From a ship that is now being unloaded 5000 metric tonnes of diesel would be given to the Ceylon Electricity Board and 4,200 MT to the Sojitz power plant, which would be enough to run it for six days, he said.

“Some stocks are also coming in the future,” he said.

Each week two to three ship come based on the projected fuel needs of the country, based on which tenders have been floated. However unloading of tankers have been delayed due to forex shortages.

Sri Lanka usually has stocks for 15 to 21 days before the forex crisis, Energy Ministry Secretary K D Olga has said.

Sri Lanka has been struggling to find foreign exchange to pay for oil with liquidity injections being made to keep interest rates down after giving reserves for imports.

When foreign reserves of a pegged central bank (which are savings) are given for imports, an equivalent fall in rupee reserves must take place in commercial banks to keep the economy in balance.

However in a pegged central bank with a policy rates, money is printed an re-inserted to banking system (sterilized reserve sale) preventing a correction in credit, the balance of payments and driving imports and economic activity to an unsustainable level.

Sri Lanka is now trying to get credit lines for fuel, instead of market pricing and offsetting domestic consumption and non-oil imports.

Credit lines (domestic consumption financed by foreign borrowings) will further widen the external current account deficit and national debt.

The Mercantilists who print money or finances budget deficits with foreign borrowings and state enterprises with credit lines then jump up and say there is a current account deficit or a ‘twin deficit’ in a country where private citizens are net savers. (Colombo/Feb25/2022)

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  1. Trevor Jayetileke says:

    I told you so about Petroleum in my writings for the past 10-15 years and no one listens. No government since 1948, have taken Power and Energy seriously and even after the separation of the two, Energy has been treated as the poor relation., but now with the crude oil price at US$100 levels in February 2022 the moment of truth has arrived for SL. WHY didn’t Governments heed early warnings on Petroleum ???

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  1. Trevor Jayetileke says:

    I told you so about Petroleum in my writings for the past 10-15 years and no one listens. No government since 1948, have taken Power and Energy seriously and even after the separation of the two, Energy has been treated as the poor relation., but now with the crude oil price at US$100 levels in February 2022 the moment of truth has arrived for SL. WHY didn’t Governments heed early warnings on Petroleum ???

Central banks expect to increase gold reserves after buying 1,037 tonnes in 2023: Survey

ECONOMYNEXT – About 29 percent of central banks in the world intended to increase their gold reserves in 2023, up from 24 percent in 2023 and just 8 percent in 2019, a survey by the World Gold Council showed.

“The planned purchases are chiefly motivated by a desire to rebalance to a more preferred strategic level of gold holdings, domestic gold production, and financial market concerns including higher crisis risks and rising inflation,” the WGC said.

About 81 percent of 70 central banks that responded to the survey expected global central bank holdings of gold to go up, from 71 percent in 2023.

While in prior years, gold’s “historical position” was the top reason for central banks to hold gold, this factor dropped significantly to number five this year.

This year, the top reason for central banks to hold gold is “long-term store of value / inflation hedge” (88%), followed by “performance during times of crisis” (82%), “effective portfolio diversifier” (75%) and “no default risk” (72%).

Concerns about sanctions were listed as by 23 percent of emerging market central banks (0 advanced).

De-dollarization as a reason to hold gold gained ground, but was not among the main reasons.

About 13 percent of emerging market central banks listed de-dollarization as one of the reasons to buy gold up from 11 percent last year and 6 advanced nations said the same from zero last year.

Around 49 percent of central banks expected gold reserves to be moderately lower five year from now in the 2024 survey, against 49 percent in 2023 and 38 percent in 2022.

About 13 percent of central banks surveyed said US dollar reserves would be significantly lower in the 2024 survey, up from 5 percent in 2023 and 4 percent in 2022. (Colombo/June18/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 304.75/305.40 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed weaker at 304.75/305.40 to the US dollar Tuesday, down from 304.15 to the US dollar Friday, dealer said, while some bond yields edged up.

Sri Lanka’s rupee has weakened amid unsterilized excess liquidity from earlier dollar purchases.

Excess liquidity fell from as high as 200 billion rupees, helped by some sales of maturing bills and also allowing some term contracts to run out.

However the central bank has started to inject liquidity again below its policy rate to suppress interest rates.

On Tuesday 30 billion rupees was printed overnight at an average yield of only 8.73 percent.

Separately another 25 billion rupees was printed till June 25 at 8.09 percent to 9.05 percent, which was still below overnight the policy rate of 9.5 percent.

Nobody has so far taken the central bank to court for printing money beyond overnight at rates lower than the overnight rate.

Sri Lanka operates an ad hoc exchange rate regime called ‘flexible exchange rate’ which triggers panic among market participants, as the central bank stays away when spikes in credit either creates import demand or unsterilized credit is used up.

“If large volumes of unsterilized liquidity is left, the exchange rate has to be closely defended to prevent speculation involving early covering of import bills and late selling of exports proceeds,” EN’s economic columnist Bellwether says.

“Just as an appreciating or stable exchange rate leads to late covering of import bills, a falling rates leads to immediate covering of import bills.

“Keeping exchange rates stable is a relatively simple exercise but it is difficult to do so if short term rates are also closely targeted with printed money, as liquidity runs out, as if the country had a free float and no reserve target.”

“When there is a large volume of excess liquidity remaining (except those voluntary deposited for long periods by risk averse banks) the the interest rates structure is under-stated compared to the reported reserves.

“Interest rates would be a little higher than seen in the market if the liquidity was mopped up and domestic credit and imports were blocked to prevent the reserves from being used up.”

In East Asia there is greater knowledge of central bank operational frameworks, though International Monetary Fund driven flawed doctrine are also threatening the monetary stability of those countries, critics say.


Vietnam selling SBV bills to stabilize the Dong, as Sri Lanka rupee also weakens

Sri Lanka’s rupee started to collapse steeply after the IMF’s Second Amendment in 1978 along with many other countries as flawed operational frameworks gained ground without a credible anchor.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.10/30 percent up from 10.05/30 percent Friday.

A bond maturing on 15.10.2027 closed at 10.60/57 flat from 10.60/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 11.15/35 percent, up from 11.05/20 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 11.80/90 percent unchanged.

A bond maturing on 15.10.2030 closed at 11.90/12.00 percent.

A maturing on 10.12.2031 closed at 11.95/12.10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed at down at 11.95/12.10 percent, down from 12.00/10 percent. (Colombo/Jun14/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber links up with Gujarat Chamber

ECONOMYNEXT – The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has signed an agreement with the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) to increase trade cooperation between India and Sri Lanka.

The MOU was signed by CCC CEO Buwanekabahu Perera, SGCCI President Ramesh Vaghasia, in the presence of Dr Valsan Vethody, Consul General for Sri Lanka in Mumbai, India.

“With the signing of the MoU, … the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and SGCCI aim to facilitate trade between the two countries via initiatives such as trade fairs and delegations, business networking events, training programmes,” the Ceylon Chamber said in a statement.

“This partnership will open doors for Sri Lankan businesses to explore opportunities in Surat’s dynamic market and enable the sharing of expertise and resources between the two regions.”

Established in 1940, SGCCI engages with over 12,000 members and indirect ties with more than 2,00,000 members via 150 associations. It promotes trade, commerce, and industry in South Gujarat.

The region’s commercial and economic centre Surat has risen to prominence as the global epicenter for diamond cutting and as India’s textile hub, and is ranked the world’s 4th fastest growing city with a GDP growth rate of 11.5%

Surat’s economic landscape is vibrant and diverse. As India’s 8th largest and Gujarat’s 2nd largest city, it boasts the highest average annual household income in the country.

The nearby Hazira Industrial Area hosts major corporations like Reliance, ESSAR, SHELL, and L&T. (Colombo/Jun18/2024)

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