CBSL maintains policy interest rates at current levels
Extracts of Monetary Policy Review: No.07 – Oct. 2021
The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, at its meeting held on 13 October 2021, decided to maintain the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) of the Central Bank at their current levels of 5.00 per cent and 6.00 per cent, respectively. The Board arrived at this decision after carefully considering the macroeconomic conditions and expected developments on the domestic and global fronts. The Board reiterated its commitment to maintaining inflation at the targeted levels over the medium term with appropriate measures, while supporting the economy to reach its potential in the period ahead.
The global economic recovery is expected to continue despite large disparities across countries. As per the World Economic Outlook (WEO) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released on 12 October 2021, the global economy is projected to grow by 5.9 per cent in 2021 and 4.9 per cent in 2022. Economic prospects remain divergent across countries, mainly due to disparities in access to COVID-19 vaccines and policy support. Consumer price inflation in most countries increased significantly, reflecting the impact of pandemic related supply-demand mismatches and the surge in commodity prices, compared to their low base from a year ago.
The Sri Lankan economy is making headway, despite the pandemic related disruptions As per the estimates of the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS), the Sri Lankan economy witnessed a strong recovery during the second quarter of 2021, recording a real growth of 12.3 per cent, year-on-year, following the growth of 4.3 per cent, year-on-year, in the first quarter of 2021. With the gradual return to normalcy after phasing out the COVID-19 related lockdown measures, alongside the successful rolling out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme and growth supportive policy measures, the momentum of economic activity is expected to sustain in the period ahead. Available indicators and projections suggest that the real economy would grow by around 5 per cent in 2021, and gradually traverse to a high and sustained growth trajectory over the medium term, following near-term stabilisation measures that are being put in place by the Government and the Central Bank. The planned coordinated efforts by the Government and the Central Bank are expected to strengthen the external sector in the period ahead Earnings from exports marked a notable improvement and recorded over US dollars 1 billion for the third consecutive month in August 2021. Expenditure on imports has also increased, partly reflecting the surge in global commodity prices, resulting in an expansion in the trade deficit during the eight months ending August 2021, over the corresponding period of last year. Outlook for tourism improved
with the easing of travel restrictions globally and the successful vaccination drive domestically. Despite the moderation of workers’ remittances observed in recent months, a rebound is expected in the period ahead with the improved growth outlook for major foreign employment source countries and greater stability in the domestic foreign exchange market. The realisation of foreign investments in the real sector and the timely adoption of remedial measures by the Central Bank as enunciated in ‘The Six-month Road Map for Ensuring Macroeconomic and Financial System Stability’ are gradually easing pressures in the domestic foreign exchange market. Furthermore, the Central Bank continued to intervene in the foreign exchange market to provide liquidity for essential imports, including fuel. The depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee against the US dollar is recorded at 6.8 per cent thus far in 2021. The Sri Lankan rupee remains largely undervalued as reflected by the real effective exchange rate (REER) indices. In the meantime, gross official reserves were estimated at US dollars 2.6 billion by end September 2021. This, however, does not include the bilateral currency swap facility with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) of CNY 10 billion (equivalent to approximately US dollars 1.5 billion). Gross official reserves are expected to improve with the measures that are being pursued by the Government and the Central Bank to attract fresh foreign exchange inflows, as outlined in the Six-month Road Map, thereby reinforcing the stability of the external sector in the period ahead. Market interest rates have adjusted upwards in response to the tightening of monetary and liquidity conditions, while credit and monetary expansion remained elevated In response to the tightening of monetary policy in August 2021, most market deposit and lending rates have adjusted upwards. Further, yields on government securities witnessed a sharp upward adjustment with the removal of maximum yield rates for acceptance at primary auctions. Following these upward adjustments, greater stability is expected in market interest rates in the period ahead. Reflecting the increased demand for credit amidst the low interest rate environment, credit extended to the private sector expanded as envisaged during the eight months ending August 2021. The momentum of credit expansion is expected to continue during the remainder of the year, with the recovery in economic activity and continued efforts to channel credit flows to productive and needy sectors of the economy.
Meanwhile, credit obtained by the public sector from the banking system, particularly net credit to the Government, also increased notably during the eight months ending August 2021. With increased domestic credit, the growth of broad money (M2b) continued to remain elevated. Some inflationary pressures are observed, particularly due to emerging global price developments Inflation accelerated in recent months due to high food inflation and some acceleration in non-food inflation. The surge in global commodity prices prompted the Government to remove maximum retail prices on several essential commodities. Along with resultant upward adjustments in other market prices, this is likely to cause headline inflation to deviate somewhat from the targeted levels in the near term. While such supply side developments in the near term do not warrant monetary policy tightening, measures already taken by the Central Bank in relation to interest rates and market liquidity would help stabilise demand pressures over the medium term.
‘Seylan Bank celebrates milestone 35 years of outstanding customer service’
Having opened its doors in 1988, Seylan Bank, celebrated a milestone 35 years recently, of proudly serving all stakeholders with an unwavering dedication to excellence, a Seylan Bank press release said.
The release adds: ‘The special occasion was commemorated with a religious ceremony at the Millennium Branch of the bank with the participation of the Board of Directors, corporate management, staff and well-wishers. Dr P. Nandalal Weerasinghe, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka graced the event and delivered the keynote address. Chairman of Seylan Bank, Ravi Dias and Kapila Ariyaratne, Director/CEO, also addressed the gathering.
‘Since the opening of its first branch, Seylan Bank has expanded into an island wide network of 171 branches, 216 ATMs, 70 cash deposit machines and 96 cheque deposit kiosks as well as many Digital Banking solutions, serving a growing client base of Small and Medium Enterprises, Retail and Corporate Customers.
‘Kapila Ariyaratne, Director/CEO Seylan Bank said, “Today we are proud of our history and excited about the future. Within the past decade Seylan Bank’s total assets, deposits and advances have grown by 300%, while our revenue has grown four times and our profit after tax has doubled. While entering the 35th year, we have recorded the highest bottom line in the history of the Bank for two consecutive years. We have polished the rich culture of innovation and customer service excellence that have been hallmarks of Seylan culture from the beginning, and are more customer focused, compliant and transparent today. Seylan Bank looks to the future with excitement, energy, strength and hope to build on our excellent foundation and achieve the vision of being amongst Sri Lanka’s leading financial service providers, helping all our stakeholders achieve their good aspirations while helping our country and our people to once again achieve economic prosperity in a sustainable manner.”
Price decline seen in all shares across the board; fluctuating trend sets in
By Hiran H. Senewiratne
CSE trading set off on a negative note yesterday but later bounced back slightly. The reason for the fluctuating trend was attributable to stock market brokers reducing their debt component, market analysts said.
Further, shares edged- down in mid- day trade on thin volumes as the market experienced selling pressures and profit- taking, an analyst said. “The market is down as the selling trend continues, as there is a price decline in all shares across the board, combined with the month ending, followed by margin calls, market analysts added.
Amid those developments both indices moved downward. The All- Share Price Index declined by 51 points and S and P SL20 went down by 11.87 points. Turnover stood at Rs 861 million with one crossing. The crossing was reported in NDB, which crossed 470,000 shares to the tune of Rs 20.2 million, its shares traded at Rs 43.
In the retail market some companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Lanka IOC Rs. 103.8 million (640,000 shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 86 million (660,000 shares traded), ACL Cables Rs 83.4 million (one million shares traded), Sampath Bank Rs 76.4 million (1.3 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 38.8 million (6.2 million shares traded) and JKH Rs 32.9 million (235,000 shares traded). During the day 43.98 million share volumes changed hands in 12746 transactions.
It is said that high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in NDB and Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings. Mixed interest was observed in Sri Lanka Telecom, Lanka IOC and Tokyo Cement Company nonvoting, while retail interest was noted in Browns Investments, LOLC Finance and Renuka Agri Foods.
The Food, Beverage & Tobacco sector was the top contributor to the market turnover (due to Browns Investments), while the sector index lost 0.49 per cent. The share price of Browns Investments recorded a loss of 10 cents, coming down to Rs. 6.40.
The Capital Goods sector was the second highest contributor to market turnover, while the sector index decreased by 1.77 per cent. Sri Lanka Telecom, Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings, NDB and Lanka IOC were also included among the top turnover contributors.
Meanwhile, in the Treasury bond market, yields were up at open on yesterday, dealers said.
A 01.07.2025 bond was quoted at 31.00/30 per cent yesterday, up from 30.75/31.00 per cent on Monday. A 15.09.2027 bond was quoted at 28.25/29.00 per cent, up from 28.10/60 per cent from Monday. The Sri Lanka rupee opened at 322/327 against the US dollar, steady from 322/325 a day earlier, Central Bank sources said.
SLT-MOBITEL shines at Effie Awards 2022
Reiterating its commitment in demonstrating innovative campaigns that have not only set a benchmark in the industry, but also contributed to making a difference for consumers at large, SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT Solutions Provider was bestowed with two Bronze and a Merit award at the Effie Awards 2022 held recently. SLT-MOBITEL was the sole Telco provider to win awards under the Internet/Telecom category.
Organized by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM), the Effie Awards Sri Lanka edition is part of the world-renowned international awards programme, recognising all forms of effective local marketing communications that contribute to a brand’s success. The coveted event is highly anticipated and celebrated by the marketing fraternity, both locally and globally, as the most distinguished honour in the industry. The Effie Awards Sri Lanka 2022 marked its 13th edition and focused on the creative work and effectiveness of campaigns during turbulent times.
SLT-MOBITEL campaigns that won Bronze awards were the ‘Triple Buddy and ‘Non-Stop Lokka’. For the SLT-MOBITEL Mobile Triple Buddy campaign’ the company introduced a competitively priced bundle for most famous social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube, thus targeting teens and young adults. Adding to the resounding success of the campaign was the company’s brand ambassador, Falan Andrea. Her immense social media following was utilized to spread the message along with SLT-MOBITEL’s integrated media rollout which targeted every person from across Sri Lanka.
In addition, the Nostop Lokka, campaign for SLT-MOBITEL Mobile addressed competitor pressure on data access and apps. ‘Non-Stop Lokka’, offered nine (09) apps, enabling customers from all categories to connect with the most famous social media applications in a hassle-free manner. The campaign was immensely successful, with outstanding results and continued during the year positioning SLT-MOBITEL as an innovative leader.
SLT-MOBITEL Fixed received the Merit Award for its campaign SLT-MOBITEL Fibre under the theme ‘Revolutionizing the Internet with SLT-MOBITEL Fibre’. SLT-MOBITEL, recently enhanced its Fibre facility, which is Sri Lanka’s first, fastest and widest premium connectivity bandwidth to 200Mbps download speed and 100Mbps upload speed. It made the customer experience uninterrupted, with instant downloading and uploading, even with multiple devices. Also, streaming videos or watch other livestreams in Ultra HD, enjoying lowest latency for gaming and providing crystal clear UHD picture quality for PeoTV were the value additions to SLT-MOBITEL Fibre users.
Conceptualizing and partnering SLT-MOBITEL for the campaigns were Phoenix Ogilvy and Ogilvy Media.
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