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Wednesday February 1st, 2023

Will forge ahead with new leader – Harin

Former Minister Harin Fernando said today that he and other supporters of presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa hope to face the coming parliamentary election with a new leader under whose guidance they will continue their new political journey.

“We have an idea about who should lead the party in the general elections after Parliament is dissolved in March,” Fernando told reporters this morning.

If the Premadasa faction is not given the space necessary to pick up their campaign from where it left off, Fernando said, they would have to go for “alternate options” or quit politics altogether for the next five years. 

Stressing that he was happy with party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s decision to resign as Prime Minister today, the MP said there cannot be any hidden deal behind the resignation such as a shift to Opposition Leader.

Fernando further said that, looking at the reasons for the UNP’s defeat, though Premadasa’s hands were clean, it was clear that he had to pay the price for the sins of the Yahapalana Government.

However, he said, die-hard UNP supporters were firmly behind Premadasa. But certain parties behind Premadasa’s election campaign did not allow him to focus his campaign on the floating vote.

When Sajith Premadasa came out as the UNP candidate officially after resolving internal issues, said Fernando, rival candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa was already two months into his campaign.

“As a country, we are happy that Gotabaya Rajapaksa is trying to embark on a different path. But I would like to point out his politics and the politics of some others who shared his stage do not go together. They are incompatible,” he said.

Fernando said that a metaphorical bomb will surely explode within the new government and then not even the gods can stop their inevitable division.

“But we need not focus on them. What we need to focus on is organising ourselves as a party in the coming days and figure out how to face the future as a party,” he said.

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Sri Lanka bond yields down at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were down at close following a bond auction on Wednesday, dealers said while a guidance peg for interbank transactions remained unchanged.

“The rates were steady at the auction,” a dealer said.

“This can be a signal to the market saying the rates will go down in the future.”

A bond maturing on 01.07.2025 closed at 32.40/60 percent, down from yesterday’s 32.60/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2027 closed at 29.10/35 marginally down from yesterday’s 29.20/75 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank US dollar transactions remained unchanged at 362.14 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers at 371.38 rupees on Friday, data showed. (Colombo/Feb 01/2022)

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Sri Lanka bill auction hits pothole after 2025 bond spike

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka sold only 45 billion rupees in Treasury bills at Wednesday’s auction after offering 120 billion rupees, data from the state debt office showed, amid market confusion over a spike in a two year bond at an earlier action.

30.1 billion rupees of 3-month bills were sold at 29.91 percent, unchanged from a week earlier after offering 60 billion rupees for auction.

5.1 billion rupees of 6-month bills were sold at 28.72 percent, flat after offering 30 billion.

10.3 billion rupees of 12-month bills were sold at 27.72 percent after offering 30 billion.

Phase II subscriptions have been opened.

The market was foxed after the 2025 bonds were accepted at sharply higher yield than market on January 30, dealer said.

There was further confusion as the there was an outright purchase of 2025 at around 29 percent earlier in January.

Some investors speculated that the authorities were trying to drive more buyers towards short end bonds as bill volumes were getting larger. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)

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Sri Lanka services exports down 5.9-pct in 2022

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s services exports were estimated to have fallen 5.9 percent to 1,876.3 million US dollars, the island’s Export Development Board said.

Services exports estimated is made up of ICT/BPM, construction, financial services, transport and logistics.

There are more than 500 ICT companies, the EDB said.

Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports were up 4.6 percent to US dollars 13.1 billion dollars in 2022 from 2021.

Sri Lanka’s goods exports are slowing amid lower growth in Western markets. (Colombo/ Feb 01/2023)

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