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HEADLINES - 11th October 2018


Sri Lanka revises fuel prices: Diesel not increased – LBO

Sri Lanka’s government increased the prices of petrol and super diesel with effect from midnight Wednesday. Issuing a statement the Ministry of Finance said the price of 92 octane petrol will be increased by six rupees to 155 rupees a litre. 95 octane petrol will go up by eight rupees to 169 rupees a litre while and super diesel will also increase by eight rupees to 141 rupees a litre.


Feud over fuel pricing formula – DailyFT

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday cautioned the nation to prepare to bear the adverse impact from a possible increase of oil prices in November. The increase is likely due to the US enforcing restrictions on Iran, the ongoing excise duty disagreement between US and China, and the annual demand for oil with the winter season, which will last until mid-2019. Responding to a question raised by Chief Opposition Whip JVP MP Anura Dissanayake, the PM explained the macro-economic factors considered in deciding the retail prices of fuel.


Price controls dominate political debate but may not help consumers: Report – LBO

A new report by The Advocata Institute, titled “Price Controls in Sri Lanka: Political Theatre” finds that consumer price controls lead to unintended outcomes including lower quality. Politicians have imposed price controls on a variety of items in the belief that capping prices will lower costs but our survey shows that they are of limited value in controlling the cost of goods. According to a limited survey carried out by Advocata and Breakthrough Business Intelligence, a comparison of controlled prices (over a ten month period) against retail prices as per the open market weekly average retail prices, showed that of 13 basic groceries only one (milk powder) was being consistently sold at the controlled price throughout the entire period. No one, not even the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA), possesses a comprehensive list of items subject to price control.


Threat of trade war significant, warns Mangala – DailyFT

Global finance and reserve bank chiefs will gather this week in Bali, Indonesia for the annual gathering of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank amid rising concern over trade war and risks of global economic crisis. Minister of Finance and Media Mangala Samaraweera is chair of the Groups of 24 developing nations, which is active in lobbying international institutions on issues of concern in the global economy. Click here to read an interview held with Samaraweera prior to the Bali gathering.


Twenty-six million women may lose jobs to technology – IMF – Daily News

The International Monetary Fund in its report titled - “Gender, Technology and the Future Work” estimated that at least 26 million female jobs in 30 countries were at risk of being displaced by technology. The IMF President, Christine Lagarde, made this known in a panel discussion on “Empowering Women in the Workplace” at the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in Bali, Indonesia.


‘Developing countries need more voice in decision-making’ – Daily News

There is no guarantee that international discussions go the way you want, but it is important for Sri Lanka and other developing nations to be present and to assert themselves in the dialogue, Finance and Mass Media Minister, Mangala Samaraweera said referring to current IMF, World Bank Meetings in Bali, Indonesia.


Customs to speed up cargo clearance with ADB aid – Ceylon Today

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is helping Sri Lanka’s Customs to speed up cargo clearance by improving risk management systems that now result in up to 80 per cent of shipments being targeted. The ADB said it is giving technical assistance to Sri Lanka for studies to review the current risk management system in Sri Lanka, including the risk profiling and targeting criteria and its effectiveness.


‘Invest Sri Lanka Forum in London draws interest and engagement among UK investors’ – The Island

A large gathering of Institutional Investors based in London showed a keen interest in investing in Sri Lankan equities while attending an Invest Sri Lanka Forum held at the London Stock Exchange recently. The Forum, which was organized by the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) in association with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC), attracted a number of UK- based frontier and emerging market Institutional Investor representatives. An event in Edinburgh, Scotland will also be held as part of the Invest Sri Lanka road show presently taking place in the United Kingdom (UK).


Sri Lanka banks should honour marketing strengths of small firms: CB Governor – EconomyNext

Banks should check the marketability and future potential of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) instead of just their current financial position when giving loans, Sri Lanka Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. "We're focused on the production function, training, finance, inputs but haven't paid sufficient attention to the marketing aspect," he said at the Regional Policy Forum of the Asia Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association.


Sri Lanka to sell hotel stakes, possibly within six months – Daily Mirror

London (REUTERS): Sri Lanka plans to put two state-owned hotel companies up for sale within the next six months in a sale that could raise US $ 500 million for the island nation as it seeks to bolster its finances, the finance minister said on Tuesday.


Jetwing chief calls for consensus among city hoteliers to raise room rates – Daily Mirror

Jetwing Group Chairman Hiran Cooray recently urged the Colombo city hoteliers to be united to increase the minimum hotel room rates in Colombo, as the room rates were getting depressed.


Frontier market governments with maturing international bonds face refinancing risks: Moody’s – DailyFT

Moody’s Investors Service says that international bonds issued by frontier market governments including Sri Lanka, Asia Pacific and Africa are coming due over the next two years in a tighter refinancing environment. It said Sri Lanka (B1 negative), Armenia (B1 positive) and Pakistan (B3 negative) in particular — and to a lesser extent, Honduras (B1 stable) and Kenya (B2 stable) — will prove the most exposed to more costly debt financing as their international sovereign bonds mature in 2019 and 2020.


364-day bill weighted average jumps above 10% for first time in over 15 months – DailyFT

The 364 day bill weighted average was seen jumping above the psychological level of 10.00% for the first time in over 15 months or 62 weeks at its weekly auction yesterday, registering an increase of 68 basis points to 10.19%.


Rupee hits fresh low for 6th straight session; stocks down – DailyFT

Reuters: The rupee hit a record low for a sixth straight session yesterday as importers and foreign banks bought the dollar amid outflows from Government securities, while stocks ended weaker for a second straight session. The rupee fell to an all-time low of 171.60 per dollar, surpassing the previous low of 171.00 hit on 9 October amid foreign selling in Government securities and exporter greenback sales, dollar sales by states banks capped the fall, market sources said. 


Adverse weather affects over 57,000 people – DailyFT

The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) yesterday confirmed that a total of 57,015 people from 14,175 families had been affected by the prevailing adverse weather conditions. According to the DMC, nine deaths had been reported, with one person missing and 19 injured. In addition, 68 houses have been completely damaged and 1,885 houses have been partially damaged, while 12,000 people from 2,611 families are being housed at 28 temporary relocation centres in three districts.


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