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Monday December 11th, 2023

Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank profits up 73-pct in March 2022 quarter

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank of Ceylon reported profits of 11.6 billion rupees in the March 2022 quarter, up 73 percent from a year earlier as foreign exchange gains outpaced provisions and net interest income also grew.

Commercial Bank group reported earnings of 9.42 rupees per share in interim accounts for the March 22 quarter.

Net fee and commission income grew 35 percent to 4.0 billion rupees.

Net interest income grew 19 percent to 37.8 billion rupees, interest expense grew 17 percent to 19.0 billion rupees and net interest income grew 21 percent to 18.8 billion rupees.

Loans and advances grew 12.5 percent in rupee terms, partly due to the inflation of dollar-denominated loans as a soft peg with the US dollar collapsed.

Loan loss provisions were down 16 percent to 5.9 billion rupees.

Net other operating income was loss of 12.2 billion rupees, down from a 3.6 billion rupee gain last year.

“The exchange impact on impairment charges on loans and advances and Government Securities denominated in foreign currency was recognised in Net Other Operating Income where the corresponding exchange gains are recognized,” the bank told shareholders.

Tier I capital adequacy stood at 9.835 percent in March, above the required minimum of 9 percent.

Owners of Sri Lanka government sovereign bonds which are now rated near default are expected to take a haircut.

However, banks with net dollar assets however stand to make gains in rupee terms.Sharply higher rates are also triggering mark to market losses in rupee bond portfolios.

Commercial Bank’s total assets grew 15 percent to 2.2 billion rupees. Net assets grew 3.7 percent to 175 billion rupees at the group level and 2.5 per cent to 169 billion rupees at the bank level. (Colombo/May16/2022)

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Sri Lanka rupee opens at 327.00/50 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee opened at 327.00/50 to the US dollar on Monday, from 327.00/30 Friday, dealers said.

On the Colombo Stock Exchange, both indices opened up: The All Share Price Index 0.28 percent at 10,823, and the S&P SL20 0.35 percent at 3,113.85.

Bond yields were up.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 was quoted at 14.05/20 percent from 14.05/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 was quoted at 14.05/20 percent from 14.10/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 was quoted at 14.20/50 percent from 14.20/35 percent.
(Colombo/Dec11/2023)

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Sri Lanka promoting Buddhist tourism from Vietnam, ASEAN

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is planning to boost Buddhist tourism by linking temples in the country with those in East Asia, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said after to welcoming a delegation of monks from Vietnam.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Minister Sabry have initiated a temple-to-temple program where 100 Sri Lanka temples will be linked with counterparts in the Association of South East Asian Nations region.

“Tourism development will get a lot of growth with the temple-to-temple program,” Minister Ali Sabry said.

Along with the delegation of monks, five travel agents from Vietnam were also invited.

Under the first phase of the Temple-to-temple programs, several monks from Sri Lanka had received invitations from Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam the Foreign Ministry said.

The Temple-to-Temple diplomacy program will be extended to Singapore, Japan, Thailand and Cambodia during the second phrase of the program.

Sri Lanka is targeting 2.3 million tourists in 2023, after getting about 1.5 million this year. (Colombo/Dec10/2023)

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ADB $200mn loan for Sri Lanka economic stabilization efforts

ECONOMYNEXT – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US 200 million dollar concessional loan to Sri Lanka to help stabilize the country’s finance sector.

The Financial Sector Stability and Reforms Program comprises two subprograms of IS 200 million dollars each, according to a statement by the ADB.

“The program’s overarching development objective is fully aligned with the country’s strategy of maintaining finance sector stability, while ensuring that banks are well-positioned for eventual recovery,” ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Takafumi Kadono was quoted as saying in the statement.

“The expected development outcome is a stable financial system providing access to affordable finance for businesses in various sectors of the economy.”

The ADB statement continues:

“Subprogram 1 targets short-term stabilization and crisis management measures that were implemented in 2023, while subprogram 2 is planned to be implemented in 2024 and focuses on structural reforms and long-term actions to restore growth in the banking sector.

The program will help strengthen the stability and governance of the country’s banking sector; improve the banking sector’s asset quality; and deepen sustainable and inclusive finance, particularly for women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest review, Sri Lanka’s economy is showing tentative signs of stabilization, although a full economic recovery is not yet assured.

The program is a follow-on assistance from ADB’s crisis response under the special policy-based loan that was approved for Sri Lanka in May 2023.

It is aligned with the fourth pillar of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility provided to Sri Lanka to help the country regain financial stability.

It is also in line with the government’s reform agenda, including strengthening the operational independence of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and its designation as the country’s macroprudential authority.

In designing this subprogram 1 loan, ADB has maintained close coordination and collaboration with the IMF to design targeted regulatory reforms for the banking sector—including the asset quality review—and with the World Bank on strengthening the deposit insurance scheme.

“The loan is accompanied by a $1 million grant from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund to provide advisory, knowledge, and institutional capacity building for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and CBSL.”
(Colombo/Dec9/2023)

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