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Friday August 19th, 2022

Sri Lanka rupee opens weaker, gilt yields stable

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s rupee opened weaker at 176.05/10 rupees to the US dollar in the spot market Tuesday, while bond yields steady and stock market opened 0.16 percent higher, market participants said.

The rupee closed at 176.00/10 against the greenback on Monday.
In equities, Colombo’s All Share Price Index (ASPI) was 9.02 points up at 5,513.62 and the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks gained 0.51 percent or 13.05 points to 2,593.14, in the first-half hour of trade.
Market turnover was 331 million rupees with 30 stocks gaining and 8 declining.
Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC gained 30 cents to 17.00 rupees a share, DFCC Bank PLC was up 3.30 rupees to 80.00 a share and Dialog Axiata was 10 cents up to 9.40 rupees a share, contributing to ASPI gain.
The Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC contributed 84 percent to the market turnover, brokers said.
In the government securities market, bond yields remained stable in dull trading, dealers said.
The market is adopting a wait and see approach ahead of the monetary policy meeting on Thursday, dealers said.
A bond maturing on 15.10.2021 was quoted at 9.00/10 percent on Tuesday, steady from 9.00/08 percent Monday’s close.
A bond maturing on 15.03.2023 was quoted flat at 9.58/63 percent.
A bond maturing on 15.6.2024 was quoted at 9.80/85 percent, easing from 9.82/85 percent.
A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 was quoted at 10.05/15 percent, gaining from 10.03/13 percent.
A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 was quoted at 10.12/18 percent, steady from 10.12/17 percent.
A 10-year bond maturing on 01.05.2029 was quoted at 10.20/28 percent, stable from 10.20/25 percent.
(COLOMBO, 09 July, 2019)

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India has helped Sri Lanka to best of its ability, will assist with IMF: Jaishankar

Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar

ECONOMYNEXT – India has helped the crisis-hit Sri Lanka to the best of its ability and will help the island nation with its negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said.

Indian media quoted Jaishankar as saying at an event in Bangkok on Thursday August 17 that this year alone, India has extended 3.8 billion US dollars in support to Sri Lanka including lines of credit and swap arrangement.

“Any help we can give to Sri Lanka at the IMF that we will naturally do,” India’s NDTV quoted Jaishankar as saying on its website.

Jaishankar’s speech focused on India’s relations with China India, which he said was going through an “extremely difficult phase” after what Beijing has done at the border.

The Asian Century will not happen if the two neighbours could not join hands, he said.

The foreign minister did not make any explicit reference to the recent diplomatic standoff between India, Sri Lanka and China over a Chinese tracking vessel that is currently docked in the island’s Hambantota Port for replenishment purposes.


Chinese tracking vessel Yuan Wang 5 docks at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port

“At the moment (the India-China) relationship is going through an extremely difficult phase after what China did at the border,” he said.

“I think if India and China have to come together, there are many reasons to do so, not necessarily only Sri Lanka,” he said, adding that it is in India and China’s own interest to join hands. (Colombo/Aug19/2022)

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Pressure on Sri Lanka’s exchange rate is easing: central bank chief

ECONOMYNEXT – Pressure on the exchange rate is easing with higher interest rates and a slowdown in credit with kerb premiums also falling, central bank governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said.

“We are seeing the pressure on the rupee easing as a result of exports growing and imports contracting and we hope that trend will continue,” Weerasinghe said at a policy review meeting on Thursday August 18.

“On the foreign the remittances side, the severe shortage of forex has been settled down to a certain extent,” he said.

For the first five months of 2022 Sri Lanka has earned 1.33 billion dollars in remittance.

Import expenditure for the first five months of 2022 stood at 8.7 billion dollars.

Weerasinghe said forex inflows, mainly remittances, have helped pay for the import expenditure of key commodities.

“We are especially able to allocate forex for the purchase of fuel, gas, and medicine. The import cost has reduced and export income is at considerable levels,” he said.

“We are able to facilitate the purchase of basic needs of the country even without going for short term loans. That is a positive sign when compared with previous policy decision making.”

“There is very little intervention by [the central bank],” he said.

According to central bank data, Sri Lanka’s trade deficit has narrowed to 3.5 billion dollars in the first half of 2022 compared to 4.3 billion dollars in the previous year as import expenditure slows down.

Exports earnings for the month of July was 1.15 billion dollars while the import expenditure was 1.25 billion dollars.

Central bank officials said the gap between the black-market premium and the banks have reduced for forex.

The bank is quoting the US dollar around 360 under a guidance peg whereas commercial banks were selling at around 370 levels.

However, it will continue to monitor dollar earning exporters to repatriate the dollars into the country to further improve the situation. (Colombo/Aug19/2022)

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Australia to provide 25 mn USD in additional emergency aid to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s farmers and other started to hoard rice and other foods

ECONOMYNEXT – Australia said it will provide Sri Lanka 25 million US dollars to help Sri Lanka meet urgent food and healthcare needs as the island nation confronts its worst economic crisis in 74 years.

“During this challenging period, Australia stands with the people of Sri Lanka, especially those experiencing severe hardship,” Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong said in a statement on Friday August 19..

On June 20 Australia provided 50 million US dollars in food and medicine aid and this additional support brings Australia’s Official Development Assistance response to 75 million dollars.

The extra humanitarian assistance is in addition to the 23 million dollars in ongoing development assistance to Sri Lanka in 2022-23.

“Our support will be delivered through UN agencies to provide food, health and nutrition services, access to safe water and essential support for those at risk, including women and children,” the statement said.

The World Food Program in July’s Food Security Monitoring report noted that the proportion of households identified as food insecure was 49.4 percent in July compared to 31.5 percent in June 2022.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on August 06 reported that 5.7 million people in Sri Lanka were in need of humanitarian assistance, with 4.9 million being food insecure. (Colombo/Aug19/2022)

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