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Thursday March 23rd, 2023

Sri Lanka stocks down 0.5-pct as punters mull taxes, future profits

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka stocks fell 0.59 percent Friday, as higher taxes and concerns over future profits began to affect sentiment, brokers said.

The market saw a turnover of 1.3 billion rupees, lower than this year’s average turnover of 3.2 billion rupees.

The main All Share Price Index (ASPI) slipped 0.59 percent or 51.86 points to close at 8,685.52.

The more liquid index S&P SL20 closed 0.30 percent or 7.72 points lower at 2,605.34.

The index has lost 12.5 percent so far this nonth and 28.9 percent year-to-date after being one of the world’s best stock markets with an 80 percent return last year when large volumes of money were printed.

“After the new taxes were announced sentiments are a bit poor,” a market analyst said. “It seems like the market is looking for some direction to run.”

Many Sri Lankan firms showed good results in the June quarter helped by lower cost inventory and ability to increase prices as inflation soared.

Since then utility prices are up and workers are starting to get restive demanding higher wages, while concerns are emerging about buying power. Economies (and firms) generally begin to feel the negative effects of money printing when inflation ceases to accelerate.

There are however concerns over fourth quarter earnings.

Following the tax hike proposals, stockbrokers said that the market has become bearish as investors moved to a wait-and-see approach as they expect the move to hit the fourth quarter earnings.

“Overall market expectation is a bearish at the moment,” a broker said. “Until interest rates start coming down a bit aggressively we may see that. B

Shares have been on a falling trend following the proposed tax hikes that were gazetted last week with companies expecting their profits to decline as the increased taxes are likely to reduce the disposable income of the general public, dealers said.

The appropriation bill for the 2023 budget which is expected to be a blueprint of the country’s reform package was tabled in the parliament on October 18. Investors are now waiting for the detail budget policies for 2023 which will be presented next month.

Ceylon Tobacco Company, dragging the index down, closed 6.3 percent lower at 651 rupees a share.

Lanka IOC fell 4.4 percent to 191.8 rupees a share while Melstacorp closed 2.8 percent weaker at 45.3 rupees a share. (Colombo/Oct21/2022)

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Sri Lanka establishes committee to investigate aircraft incidents

An aircraft lands at the Jaffna International Airport, which was opened in October 2019 and promises to push the tourism frontiers in Jaffna.

ECONOMYNEXT: Sri Lanka’s has established an expert committee under the state-run Civil Aviation Authority to investigate aircraft accidents and to implement precautionary methods in the Sri Lankan airspace, an Official said.

“Even if it is only one flight, there is a chance an accident may occur,” Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka, Director General, P. A. Jayakantha said.

“This particular committee is there to investigate aircraft accidents and act as a mechanism to take over if something goes wrong”.

Sri Lanka has encountered around 2,700 minor aircraft accidents and incidents mostly on the ground in the 19 years through 2021, the CAA annual reports showed.

The new committee will analyze the past accidents and take precautionary measures while also conducting investigations and provide independent reports in the future, Jayakantha said.

The team is provided with required training and qualifications by the CAA along with an International organization, free of charge.

“Internationally also it is a requirement to have a team to investigate the aircraft accidents,” Jayakantha added.

“For a long time we have not fulfilled this requirement and that is why we established this team with the cabinet approval. Moreover, recently, Sri Lanka’s two aircrafts, one training aircraft and a commercial aircraft met an accident”

The committee will be on active duty, until the Accident Investigation Act is passed and a proper Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation Bureau is established. (Colombo/ Mar23/2023)

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Sri Lanka bond yields steady, Rupee 319/325 at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s treasury bond yields closed steady on Thursday while rupee closed weaker, dealers said.

A 01.07.2025 bond closed at 30.60/31.00 percent on Tuesday, down from 30.25/75 percent on Wednesday.

A 15.09.2027 bond closed at 27.80/28.10 percent, steady from 27.90/28.00 percent from Wednesday.

Sri Lanka rupee closed at 319/325 against the US dollar depreciating from 318/320 from a day earlier. (Colombo/ March23/2023)

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Sri Lanka shares dive to two-week low on local debt restructuring fears

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka market fell for a fourth session to a two-week low on Thursday, led by financials, as worries over domestic debt restructuring continued after the IMF loan was approved earlier this week resulting in investors adopting a wait-and-see approach until further clarity was provided, analysts said.

The main All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed down 1.38 percent or 131.07 points to 9,395.98, lowest since March 02.

Analysts said, majority of the banks have been on slower investment trends on fears of domestic debt restructuring after the IMF approval and waiting for more clarity on the local debt restructuring.

“The market is on muted sentiments despite the IMF loan being approved and is going through a period of consolidation,” Ranjan Ranatunga of First Capital Holdings said.

The market saw a net foreign outflow of 298 million rupees and the total offshore inflows recorded so far in 2023 to 3.3 billion rupees.

The most liquid index, S&P SL20, closed 1.64 percent, or 45.33 points, down at 2,722.94.

The market saw a turnover of 3.4 billion rupees on Thursday, above this year’s daily average of 1.8 billion rupees.

This is the highest turnover generated since March 08, which is when the market was driven off of positive sentiments from International Monetary Fund deal hope after Chinese assurances.

Top contributors to revenue was Agalawatte Plantations, on off board transactions of a stake change, contributing revenue of 1.6 billion rupees, Ranatunga said.

Top contributors to revenue industry wise was Food and Beverage and Telecommunications.

Sri Lanka Telecom has been seeing positive uptrends as the Secretary to the Treasury has informed the Board of Directors of Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT) and Lanka Hospitals PLC that the Cabinet of Ministers has granted approval in principle for the divestment of the stakes held by the Treasury Secretary in the two companies.

Top losers were Sampath Bank, Hatton National Bank and Commercial Bank.

Sri Lanka is looking at options to re-structure domestic debt, or local law local currency debt (LLLC), without harming the banking sector and announce them the International Monetary Fund said in a report.

Banks have been witnessing profit taking and selling pressures after continuous uptrends prior to the IMF loan had been approved.

Analysts said, selling pressures is expected to ease as the IMF hopes to reduce inflationary pressures which will in turn lead to reductions in interest rates. (Colombo/Mar23/2023)

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