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Thursday June 20th, 2024

Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank net down 23-pct; loans contract

ECONOMYNEXT – Profits at Commercial Bank of Ceylon, Sri Lanka’s largest private bank by assets, fell 23 percent to 3.129 billion rupees in the March 2019 quarter from a year earlier, as credit contracted, bad loans grew and a new tax hit profits, interim accounts showed.

The group reported earnings of 3.05 rupees per share for the quarter down 25 percent.

Interest income grew 13.8 percent to 31.97 billion rupees interest in the quarter ended March 2019 from a year earlier, expense grew at a faster 16.07 percent to 19.95 billion rupees and net interest income grew at a slower 10.4 percent to 12.1 billion rupees.

Loans and advances contracted to 861 billion rupees from 867 billion rupees from three months earlier.

Cash balances grew 15.4 percent to 51.8 billion rupees and interbank loans grew 41 percent to 28.1 billion rupees.

Chief executive S Renganathan said the bank followed a "more cautious approach in expanding its advances portfolio" amid "challenging economic conditions."

"Despite the decline in advances, I am happy to say that the Bank has continued to support the SME sector, as reflected in the satisfactory growth of this portfolio during the quarter," he said.

Loan losses grew 68 percent to 1.89 billion rupees in the quarter from 1.126 billion rupees a year earlier.

At bank level the gross non performing loan ratio rose to 4.14 percent from 3.24 percent.

Total capital adequacy fell to 15.1 percent from 15.6 percent, but is higher than the minimum 14 percent.

Sri Lanka has seen monetary instability due to the operation of a soft-pegged exchange regime with real effective exchange rate targeting, which led to a collapse of the currency, killing an economic recovery, which was worsened by a political crisis in the last quarter of 2018.

Fee and commission income grew 2.5 percent 2.93 billion rupees.

Financial sector value added tax, nation building tax and a new debt repayment tax rose 39 percent to 1.78 billion rupees.

The bank grew deposits 3.14 percent during the quarter to 1,025 billion rupees, as credit contracted.

When a country recovers from a balance of payments trouble, deposits at bank grow faster than loans, while during a currency crisis, loans will growth with printed money from term reserve repurchase injections from the central bank or its outright treasury bill purchases.

The when banks or other savers buy Treasury bills previously held by the central bank, the currency strengthens, imports and economic activity falls and a balance of payments surplus is generated.

Total assets grew 1.78 percent to 1,221 billion rupees during the quarter. Net assets grew 0.73 percent to 121.4 billion rupees. (Colombo/May15/2019 – Update III)

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Sri Lanka shares debt management experience at global forum

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has shared its experiences at a forum on debt management to “provide lessons for others”, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe has said.

Semasinghe spoke on “The Role of Debt Management in Navigating Crises” at the 14th Debt Management Facility (DMF) Stakeholders’ Forum, in Livingstone, Zambia.

“I shared the experiences of Sri Lanka which can provide valuable lessons for others and explored the critical elements of capacity building and sound institutional practices in managing debt, particularly in the context of economic challenges,” Semasinghe said on X (twitter).

“Sri Lanka’s experience demonstrates that effective debt management is not just about managing numbers but also about building robust institutions and capacities.”

The journey underscores the importance of transparent, accountable governance and the need for international support and cooperation in times of crisis, he said.

“Sri Lanka prioritized addressing gaps in public debt management by drafting a consolidated Public Debt Management Act, ensuring clarity and legal robustness and establishing a centralized Public Debt Management Office with operational autonomy.

“The role of debt management in navigating crises is multifaceted and critical. Further, by investing in capacity building, adhering to sound institutional practices, and strategically managing debt restructuring and liability operations, countries can better withstand economic shocks and pave the way for sustainable recovery.”

Developing countries face severe debt distress as they are more vulnerable to external shocks, Semasinghe said, and “managing global debt requires coordinated international efforts on debt restructuring where necessary, timely fiscal policy adaptation and help sustainable economic growth.”

The state minister also pointed out the financial impact of climate change was an emerging challenge, as countries need investment to mitigate and adapt to climate impacts, “especially through non-debt creating inflows, which would require private capital mobilization.” (Colombo/Jun20/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes stronger at 305.10/30 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed stronger ahead of the long weekend at 305.10/30 to the US dollar on Thursday, up from 305.40/55 to the US dollar Wednesday, dealers said, while some bond yields edged up.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.45/80 percent, up from 10.35/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 11.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.00/15 percent, up from 11.95/12.35 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.12.2031 closed at 12.05/25 percent.

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Sri Lanka stocks close up, JKH trade pushes turnover

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Thursday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.19 percent, or 23.11 points, at 12,249; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed up 0.15 percent, or 5.33 points, at 3,610.

Turnover was 2 billion. Nearly half of this (Rs980mn) came from a crossing on John Keells Holdings Plc. The share closed down at 202.00.

“There were several crossings today which pushed turnover,” market participants said.

“Institutions and high net-worth activity drove the market, while the retail investors we feel are still about uncertain and adopting a wait-and-see approach.”

Melstacorp Plc was among the companies that saw active volumes (Rs194mn) in the day. The share closed up at 87.10.

Top contributors to the index included TeeJay Lanka Plc (up at 41.70), Sampath Bank Plc (up at 79.50), Hatton National Bank Plc (down at 201.00). Hayleys Plc (up at 105.00) and its subsidiary Hayleys Fabric Plc (up at 46.60) were also positive contributors. (Colombo/Jun20/2024)

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