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Wednesday February 1st, 2023

Sri Lanka President likely to revoke High Security Zone Gazette – sources

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe is likely to revoke a gazette he declared High Security Zones (HSZ) in the commercial heart of Colombo, two government sources who are aware of the process said.

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has raised concern over the latest HSZ, citing that using Official Secret Act to declare HSZ was legally wrong.

“The president has sought Attorney General’s advise on this. If the legal basis is wrong, then the president is likely to revoke the gazette,” a source who has seen the official documents on the process told EconomyNext.

Another source also confirmed the move.

The second source said the president signed the gazette on the facts and recommendations submitted by “top officials of the ministry of public security”.

There had been adverse impact on the economic activities due to the recent declaration of HSZ. Economists have briefed the president on the impacts due to his HSZ declaration, the sources said.

“They (economists) showed the impact due to the HSZ is far worse than the impacts of often protests by anti-government protesters. They also said there could be different issues due to the new gazette,” the first source said.

The President has urged the Ministry of Public Security and relevant authorities to replace the HSZ with a special security plan with the coordination of intelligence unit and with the advice of the Attorney General, Wickremesinghe is likely to revoke the gazette once he comes back from Japan visit, sources said.

Wickremesinghe on Friday (23) declared war-time high security zone (HSZ) in capital Colombo after months of protests in those areas ousted his predecessor and previous government.

The move came amid fears that some groups could start protests against the government amid worsening economic conditions with reports of higher cost of living and food prices have left many to cut down foods and other essentials.

Wickremesinghe through a gazette extraordinary declared the following areas as the HSZ: Presidential Palace, Presidential Secretariat, Parliament, Supreme Court, High Court, Colombo Magistrate Court, Attorney General’s Department, Prime Minister’s official residence Temple Trees, Prime Minister’s office, Ministry of Defence, Head Quarters of Army, Navy, Air Force, and Police. and Official Residences of Defence Secretary and Commanders of Army, Navy, and Air Force.

All these areas were declared as HSZ during the island nation’s 26-year civil war ended in 2009. Since then successive governments gradually removed the HSZ to facilitate economic activities led by tourism as many of these areas are located in the commercial heard of capital Colombo.

The area around Presidential Secretariat was the center of Sri Lanka’s youth-led protest which finally forced former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the presidential palace before stepping down from the post after he went to Singapore via Maldives in mid July.

Later protesters occupied Presidential Palace, Presidential Secretariat, Prime Minister’s official residence Temple Trees, and Prime Minister’s office before they were forced out by the security authorities after Wickremesinghe became the president through a parliamentary election on July 20. (Colombo/Sept27/2022)

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Sri Lanka coconut prices ease at auction

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s coconut auction prices fell in the last auction in January 2023, with average prices going down by 4.1 percent at an auction on January 26, data showed.

The average price for 1,000 nuts fell to 80.811.89 from 84,116.85 a week earlier at the weekly auction conducted by Sri Lanka’s Coconut Development Authority.

The highest price was 87,300 rupees for 1,000 nuts down from the previous week’s 90,200 rupees, while the lowest was 72,500 down from 73,000 rupees.

The auction offered 469,564 coconuts and 300,983 nuts were sold. (Colombo/ Feb 01/2023)

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Sri Lanka shares edge up at close

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s shares edged up on Wednesday pushed as investors bought in to beaten down shares following the previous session’s drop, market analyst said.“

At this price level what we are seeing is a lot of confidence from the investors to collect when the prices drop. So, the market is not falling sharply,” a market analyst said.

Market had also seen buying in Expolanka shares on speculation that the parent company of SG Holdings was buying back into the shares.

All Share Price Index (ASPI) edged up by 0.96 percent or 84.96 points to 8,950.01.

The most liquid index S&P SL20 gained 1.27 percent or 35.02 points to 2,799.53.

Banking and Insurance counters had seen interest on the back of positive sentiments from the IMF.

The central bank has said it could cut interest rates in future when the the country sees fall in inflation, which has already started decelerating.

The market saw a turnover of 1.5 billion rupees today,lower than the month’s daily average of 1.8 billion rupees and nearly half of 2022 average turnover of 2.9 billion rupees.

The bourse saw a flow of net foreign inflow of 45 million rupees extending the net offshore buying to 1.9 billion so far this year.

Top gainers of the day were Commercial Bank, Expolanka, and Ceylinco Insurance. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)






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Sri Lanka bond yields down at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were down at close following a bond auction on Wednesday, dealers said while a guidance peg for interbank transactions remained unchanged.

“The rates were steady at the auction,” a dealer said.

“This can be a signal to the market saying the rates will go down in the future.”

A bond maturing on 01.07.2025 closed at 32.40/60 percent, down from yesterday’s 32.60/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2027 closed at 29.10/35 marginally down from yesterday’s 29.20/75 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank US dollar transactions remained unchanged at 362.14 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers at 371.38 rupees on Friday, data showed. (Colombo/Feb 01/2022)

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