The Covid-19 financial crisis led to a crash in SL Sovereign Bond prices from $ 100 to an all-time low of $
48.15 in May as investors ran to the safety of US treasuries exiting Asian bonds. The run was common to all Asian Bonds including SL sovereign Bond (ISB).
Most other Asian ISBs had recovered except for Sri Lankan sovereign bonds due to concerns about SL ability to repay the $ 1 billion ISB maturity on the 4th of October 2020. SL was downgraded to B- by the rating agencies (Fitch, S&P & Moody’s) in April 2020 while some international media articles discussed the possibility of Sri Lanka defaulting.
However, with Sri Lanka receiving confirmation of currency swaps for $ 3 billion with India ($ 1.4 bn) and China ($1.63 bn) in July, while the Trade Deficit halved by 50% in May 2020 (YoY). The government has also entered into a $ 1 billion Repo (repurchase agreement) with US although the facility has not been drawn yet. The Central Bank has specifically committed to repay the $ 1 billion sovereign bond maturity in October out of the foreign currency reserves. The above factors along with Sri Lanka’s success in battling the epidemic has increased the confidence of foreign investors. As a result, the 2030 maturity sovereign bond price has increased to $ 74.5 reflecting a yield of 12.1% p.a on July 31, 2020.
Once Sri Lanka honours the $ 1 billion repayment on October 4th, 2020, analysts expect foreign investor confidence to return to SL sovereigns. As a result, investors can expect substantial capital gains in addition to the yield of 12.1% due to an increase in sovereign bond prices.
The Ceylon Dollar Bond Fund (CDBF) invests exclusively in Sri Lanka government guaranteed dollar Sovereign Bonds and Development Bonds. Ceylon Asset Management competes with international USD bond managers in operating the Ceylon Dollar Bond Fund (CDBF), Sri Lanka’s first international sovereign bond fund that navigates global market conditions. The fund reported a performance of 10.3% in US dollar during 2019.
The CDBF is managed by Ceylon Asset Management (CAM) while Deutsche Bank AG serves as the Trustee and Custodian of the fund. CAM is an associate company of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Ltd.
Local individual investors who hold a Personal Foreign Currency Account (PFCA), corporate investors with a Business Foreign Currency Account (BFCA) and Foreign Investors are eligible to invest in the fund. Investors can exit at any time without penalties, and repatriate dollars to the originating bank account.
The CDBF is the only dollar-denominated Unit Trust in Sri Lanka licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and approved by the Central Bank.
Past performance is not an indicator of future performance, investors are advised to read and understand the contents of the explanatory memorandum on www.ceylonam.com.
SEC, CSE and the CFA Society SL aim to strengthen ESG focus in the Sri Lankan capital market
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC), the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the CFA Society Sri Lanka (CFASSL) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further strengthen Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) focus in the Sri Lankan capital market.
The MoU will enable the institutions to jointly deliver initiatives focused on educating local investors on ESG and fostering effective ESG practices and communication by Listed Companies. Furthermore, the MoU will also pave the way for cooperation in improving ESG-related know-how of local market practitioners, encouraging the adoption of the CFA Institute’s Global ESG Disclosure Standards for Investment Products and the introduction of ESG-related new products, standards and regulations.
Commenting on the development, Chairman of the SEC Viraj Dayaratne PC stated “Strengthening ESG focus in regulation, policy-making and in our advocacy efforts among investors, issuers and other market stakeholders is vital in ensuring that the Sri Lankan capital market benefits from the considerable interest in ESG investing observed globally. While capturing the knowledge and expertise of the CFA Society Sri Lanka in our ESG agenda offers considerable value, the MoU also offers a new avenue through which the SEC and CSE could strengthen ties with an institution that represents financial analysts and investment practitioners – professionals who are central to the development of the Sri Lankan capital market.”
Chairman at CSE Dilshan Wirasekara commenting on the MoU said “CSE has over the years maintained a strong commitment to creating ESG related awareness and to encourage the greater adoption of ESG practices and communication by listed companies as it not only creates opportunities for the market, but also creates a positive impact to the environment and society at-large. This MoU offers CSE the opportunity to benefit from the strategic direction and guidance of the industry regulator the SEC and tap into the technical know-how and expertise of CFASSL and its international network during the process of delivering multiple progressive ESG related objectives. The CSE looks forward to creating positive ESG related outcomes for investors, listed issuers and our stakeholders as a result of this collaboration.”
Dinesh Warusavitharana CFA, the President of CFASSL said “The local member society of CFA Institute, which is a global organization that provides education for investment professionals are pleased to collaborate with the SEC and CSE to educate capital market participants on ESG. As sustainable finance has grown rapidly in recent years, a growing number of institutional investors and funds now incorporate various ESG investing approaches to create better long-term financial value. We believe this tripartite collaboration will facilitate knowledge enhancement of the key participants on ESG to prepare them to access global funds dedicated for ESG investing.”
Fuel crisis combines with profit-takings to drag down share market
Hiran H. Senewiratne
Sri Lanka’s shares fell over 1.7 per cent within the first hour of trading, dragged down by weak investor sentiment amid the continuing fuel shortage. These developments combined with month-end profit takings to negatively affect the market yesterday, stock market analysts said.
“It is said that last week we saw the market gaining in four straight sessions solely on the news that a fuel shipment was due to arrive on June 24. However, now the country is unsure when it will receive its next fuel shipment, a top market analyst said.
“Therefore, unless there is confirmation on the fuel supply, I feel the market will continue to fall or move sideways. There are no other factors in the market for it to move up either. Further, the government’s previous night’s announcement on providing fuel to essential services created some issues as the government failed to define the phrase ‘essential services’ clearly. What sectors are being classified as essential? stock market analysts asked. “However, they have mentioned several sectors, such as public transport and health, but not clearly mentioned food supply, market analysts said.
Amid those developments both indices moved downwards. The All- Share Price Index went down by 139.25 points and S and P SL20 declined by 36.76 points. Turnover stood at Rs 815.3 million with one crossing. The crossing was reported in Commercial Bank, which crossed 446,000 shares to the tune of Rs 22.3 million, its shares traded at Rs 50.
In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; Expolanka Rs 182.8 million (1.1 million shares traded), HNB Rs 81.9 million (one million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 72.5 million (1.1 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 69.9 million (9.5 million shares traded), Sampath Bank Rs 63.1 million (2.1 million shares traded) Commercial Bank Rs 43.3 million (464,000 shares traded) and LOLC Finance Rs 21.4 million (3.3 million shares traded). During the day 43.9 million share volumes changed hands in 11643 share transactions.
Recommendations made by the Advisory Committee for Revival of Failed Licensed Finance Companies
The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (Monetary Board) established the Advisory Committee for Revival of Failed Finance Companies (Committee) in October 2021 to examine possible revival options for five (5) failed finance companies, i.e., Central Investments & Finance Ltd., ETI Finance Ltd., TKS Finance Ltd., The Finance Company PLC and The Standard Credit Finance Ltd, of which licenses have been either cancelled or suspended. The Monetary Board has vested the Committee with the responsibility of recommending possible revival options or recommending liquidation for aforementioned five failed finance companies if such revival options do not seem feasible.
The Committee submitted its final report to the Monetary Board on 31.05.2022, after careful consideration of several proposals submitted by different parties for revival of four (4) of the above- mentioned companies.
The Monetary Board, having considered the Report of the Committee on the said five failed finance companies, noted that the proposals received for perusal of the said Committee were not viable and entailed a number of policy and legal implications, which did not appear to be workable within the existing regulatory framework. Further, given the present economic conditions, the said Committee does not expect any viable proposals to be received from prospective investors. Under these circumstances, the only option concerning the five (05) failed finance companies would be to continue with liquidation proceedings/filing for liquidation. In the light of the above, the Committee in its report has recommended to wind up the Committee. Based on the recommendation of the Committee the Monetary Board decided to dissolve the Committee.
Consequently, actions will be taken to liquidate the aforementioned five failed finance companies in accordance with applicable legal provisions.
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