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Monday December 5th, 2022

Sri Lanka village in Covid-19 lockdown as zero Coronavirus cases reported for second day

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has locked down a village South of the capital Colombo after a confirmed Coronavirus patient was found who had contacts with at least 26 persons, while nationwide curfews continue to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Sri Lanka recorded the second day with no new infections on March 27, since Sri Lanka’s Second Wave infections started with infections from Italy.

Sri Lanka has on March 27 confirmed 3 cases by mid-day taking the total to 109. The patients under observation dropped to 199 from and 238. Nine patietns including a Wave I patient from Wuhan had recovered up to March 28 mid-day.

Surgical Lockdown

Sri Lanka has been aggressively quarantining arrivals, chasing down contacts and putting the country under curfew to contain the virus.

“In the Bandaragama divisional secretary area, in the village of Atalugama we found that Coranvirus case had close contacts with over 26 percents,” Sri Lanka’ Army Commander Shavendra Silva who heads an anti-Coronavirus task force in the island in a recorded video.

“These 26 persons have been quarantined in a centre in the same area.

“Under the advice of health authorities others are asked to be in self-quarantine.”

Atalugama had been put in surgical quarantine with police setting up barricades at all entry points. No one is allowed to enter or leave the village.

Meanwhile the military had also released another 501 persons from quarantine, taking the total released up to now to 1,174, General Silva said. In the quarantine centres 2,871 remain. Another 300 would be released on Saturday he said.

Sri Lanka has been aggressively chasing contacts of all confirmed Coroanvirus cases, while there are nation-wide curfews to prevent the spread of the disease.

Out of 106 confirmed cases 33 were from quarantine centres, who had returned from abroad.

“If these people were not quarantined, there would be big calamity in the country,” Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said.

Sri Lanka has since barred all arrivals, whether foreigners or citizens.

The government on Friday asked overseas citizens to wait until the work currently being done to contain the diseases in the island is completed.

Many countries have closed borders, but many are also allowing citizens to return.

Vietnam which is also aggressively chasing contacts has so far quarantined

Under Watch

By Saturday March 28, 14 days had elapsed since a ‘Big Match’ between Colombo’s Royal and St. Thomas’ College where a Coronavius patient was found. The big match had been a key concern for authorities.

Other incidents include a father-son duo who had attended the Red Mosque in Colombo. In Jaffna, indefinite curfews are also in place after an infected Swiss pastor held a service and one of his associates were infected.

However the curfews have put severe economic hardship of day wage earners as well as companies.
A 6,000 rupee credit has been given to Samurdhi income supplement recipients.

The government has announced a multiple economic measures including credit relief.

Sri Lanka Ports Authority Friday exempted ships from entry fees and demurrage and shippers from warehouse rents and container storage charges.


Sri Lanka closes export industrial zones over Coronavirus

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Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s monetary policy continues to cause concern as it had done for nearly 70 years since and unstable soft-peg was set up in 1951.

Sri Lanka has injected large volumes of money into the credit system, despite not having either a reserve currency or a floating exchange rate undermining the credibility of the peg.

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Sri Lanka’s shares gain in mid market trade

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares edged up in mid day trade on Monday (05), continuing the positive run for seven straight sessions on news over a possible debt restructuring from Paris Club, analysts said.

All Share Price Index gained by 0.69% or 60.10 points to 8,829, while the most liquid shares gained by 0.96% or 26.59 points to 2,801.

“The market was pushed up over the news of a potential 10 year debt moratorium,” analysts said.

The Paris Club group of creditor nations has proposed a 10-year debt moratorium on Sri Lankan debt and 15 years of debt restructuring as a formula to resolve the island nation’s prevailing currency crisis. 

Related – Paris Club proposes 10-year moratorium in 15-year Sri Lanka debt re-structure: report

The market generated a revenue of 2.1 billion rupees.

Top gainers during 1130 hours were Expolanka, Browns Investment and LOLC.  (Colombo/Dec05/2022)


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Sri Lanka bond yields slightly down

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were slightly down at open on Monday while t- bills were inactive, dealers said.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank transactions was at 363.18 rupees against the US dollar, appreciated from 363.19 rupees on Friday.

“Only one bond is being quoted today, and the rest remaining unquoted” a dealer said.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 quoted at 29.30/30.00 percent down from 29.50/75 percent at Friday’s close.(Colombo/ Dec 03/2022)

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Sri Lanka should prioritize RCEP , not small FTAs: economist

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka should make joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) a priority instead of trying to negotiate multiple smaller deals, an economist has said.

“We do not have the bandwidth in government and the technical resources to do multiple trade agreements,” Anushka Wijesinghe an economist who has been involved in trade told a business forum in Colombo.

“I think RCEP should be number one priority, rather than three or four tiny bilateral goods agreements.”

Sri Lanka is trying negotiate a free trade deal with China and expand an existing one with India.

Data show that Sri Lanka has been able to boost exports with FTAs.

Sri Lanka has high tariff protection which ultimately backfire.

Sri Lanka has protectionist business interests their profits from overpriced goods have had priority over ordinary consumers and overall economic efficiency that comes from free trade.

Sri Lanka also has monetary instability, which has worsened under flexible inflation targeting, with a series of currency crises coming in rapid successions.

Forex shortages from mis-targeted interest rates under flexible or discretionary monetary policies have discredited free trade and liberalization in general and strengthened the hands of economic nationalists, analysts say.

The country also has monetary instability, which makes life difficult not only for investors but all economic agents.

Over the past two decades Sri Lanka’s exports have not grown as much as competitors. (Colombo/Dec05/2022)

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