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Headlines - 4th October 2018


Govt. allocates highest amount in history for debt repayment in 2019 – Daily Mirror

The government has allocated little over Rs.2,057 billion for debt servicing in 2019—the highest amount allocated from a budget in the history of Sri Lanka. Out of this amount, Rs.1,271 billion should be paid locally next year, while Rs.786 billion, which is equal to US $ 4,650 million, should be paid to foreign lenders.


Sri Lanka CB Chief unaware of threats to forex dealers – EconomyNext

Sri Lanka's Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said he was unaware that forex dealers had been threatened with police investigations for sharing market information with journalists reporting on currency movements. "I'm not aware of that," Coomaraswamy said when asked whether dealers were intimidated by the Central Bank. Journalists said dealers had been told that police will monitor their phone records to establish if they communicated with reporters, who will also be under investigation. Reporters also asked whether any other official of the bank could have issued the threats. "I doubt it," he said.


EPF to be listed and brought under CBSL supervision – The Island

Sri Lanka's largest retirement fund, the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF),with Rs. 2 trillion in assets will be  listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and monitored and managed  under the  supervision of the Central Bank Monetary Board, Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said.


SLTIP becomes most visited gateway – Daily News

Sri Lanka’s Trade Information Portal (TIP), the government’s major initiative on cross-border trade information that complies with the World Trade Organization (WTO) has stunned world trade circles by garnering the highest validation of data accuracy so far seen on any World Bank assisted info-portal.


Cabinet green lights call for proposals for Light Rail lines – DailyFT

Cabinet this week approved a proposal by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development to issue request for proposals (RFP) for three Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines from six Chinese companies. 


Waste plastic for road surfacing – Daily News

A sustainable approach to minimize the ever-growing plastic pollution. Asset Group of Companies commenced using a new technology to incorporate waste plastic to produce asphalt for road surfacing. Manufactured by mixing shredded plastic with aggregates, and bitumen the new asphalt mix is said to provide a number of benefits including an innovative and viable solution to address the rapidly rising plastic menace in the country as well as bringing a significant cost reduction in road paving.


Hambantota LNG plant gets Cabinet nod – DailyFT

Cabinet this week granted approval to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) and Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to set up the much-awaited 400MW liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Hambantota, with an equity ratio of 70/30. 


Investment Mission to Germany yields new opportunities for Lanka – Daily News

The Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade, together with the Board of Investment, Export Development Board, and the AHK Germany, led a successful investment and export promotion visit to Germany last week. During the 3-day 3-city promotion mission led by Malik Samarawickrama, Sri Lanka’s interests and capabilities in the trade and investment arena were showcased to a range of German and European investors ranging from international logistics players, high-end equipment manufacturers, to importers of processed products.


Sri Lanka and Finland hold bilateral consultations in Colombo – DailyFT

The First Session of the Sri Lanka-Finland Bilateral Consultations at senior officials’ level was successfully concluded on 1 October at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo. 


CB plans sovereign bond issue this year – Daily Mirror

Sri Lanka may go for an International Sovereign Bond (ISB) issue before the end of this year on top of the plans to raise US $ 500 million through Panda and Samurai bonds. Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said the Central Bank wants to go for the ISB “as early as possible” before the interest rates go up any further. Sri Lanka will also be receiving US $ 1 billion from China Development Bank as a syndicated loan in a couple of weeks’ time and the Central Bank may look at upsizing the loan to US $ 1.5 billion, given the attractive 5.25 percent interest rate attached to the loan.


Sri Lanka permanently sterilizes some forex interventions – EconomyNext

Sri Lanka has begun permanently sterilizing forex market interventions with outright purchases of Treasury bills to print money into the banking system after rejecting an auction of Treasuries, official data showed. The central bank printed a total of 13.27 billion rupees Wednesday to fill a liquidity shortage coming from dollars sold to intervene in the spot forex market and swaps in the forward market through which it had given exchange cover to state banks, effectively engaging in quasi-fiscal activity.


Weekly bill auction rejected for second time in three weeks – DailyFT

All bids received for yesterday’s weekly Treasury bill auction were rejected for a second time in three weeks due to market participants seeking higher yields. At its previous week, the 91-day and 364-day bills fetched weighted averages of 8.56% and 9.51%, respectively.


Rupee hits all-time low; stocks recover – Daily Mirror

REUTERS: The Sri Lankan rupee hit a fresh low yesterday due to dollar demand from importers and foreign banks amid outflows from government securities, while stocks ended marginally firmer erasing early losses. Yesterday, the rupee touched its all-time low of 169.90 per dollar surpassing its previous low of 169.40 hit on Friday on importer demand for the greenback and foreign selling in government securities, market sources said. 


Onions, potatoes to cushion Sri Lanka depreciation shock – EconomyNext

Onions, potatoes and rice which are now grown in the country will cushion the people against currency collapse, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said, as the rupee's unstable soft-peg with the US dollar saw its second run in 2018 despite weak credit growth. Sri Lanka was no longer the country it was when it got independence in 1948, as it is producing more rice domestically and in a good rainfall year, no rice is imported, he said. "Things like potatoes and onions we are producing more which can compete with imports," Coomaraswamy told reporters.


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