The Central Bank has stressed the need for financial system to actively lend to productive sectors at its meeting held on 03 March 2021.
Credit to productive sectors remains crucial in ensuring a sustained economic recovery, a Central Bank report said.
“Reflecting the transmission of monetary easing measures taken by the Central Bank in the recent past, both market deposit and lending rates have declined substantially towards establishing a single digit interest rate structure. Many market interest rates have declined to their historic lows. However, certain market interest rates, such as yields on government securities, have shown unwarranted volatility recently, which is not in line with monetary policy expectations. The Central Bank reiterates that the high level of excess liquidity in the money market and the reduction in policy interest rates thus far are intended to result in a stable low interest rate environment, while providing a positive real return to savers”, it said.
Some excerpts from above Central Bank report are reproduced below.
Reflecting the expansion in domestic credit, the growth of broad money (M2b) continued to accelerate. However, despite the substantial reduction in market lending rates, growth of credit towards productive sectors of the economy appears to remain inadequate. Going forward, the growth of credit to the private sector is expected to gather pace supported by low lending rates, the introduction of priority sector lending targets for banks on lending to the micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSME) sector, and rising demand for credit driven by improving investor sentiments. Discussions with the banking community and other stakeholders are ongoing to rectify deficiencies in extending credit to productive, growth-supportive, sectors.
The Monetary Board 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 4.50 per cent and 5.50 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 noted the recent slowdown in credit disbursements to the private sector and inadequate lending to productive sectors of the economy, and stressed the need for the financial system to actively lend to productive sectors in order to support the ongoing recovery of domestic production-based economic activity. Further, the Board observed the recent uptick in certain market interest rates, and reemphasised its commitment to continue the low interest rate structure until the economy shows signs of sustained revival, in the context of the low inflation environment.
The Sri Lankan economy is expected to make a notable recovery in 2021, supported by policy stimulus and improving business sentiments
Given the low inflation environment, the Central Bank is in the process of actively supporting the Government’s economic agenda focused on developing a production-based economy. Positive sentiments fuelled by the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country and the impact of growth- promoting policies are expected to support the economic revival over the short to medium term.
The trade deficit contracted by US dollars 2.0 billion in 2020 benefiting from the notable decline in expenditure on imports, which more than compensated the decline in earnings from exports. The trade deficit is expected to remain compressed in 2021, supported by appropriate measures taken by the Government. Workers’ remittances continued to increase steadily from mid 2020, recording an annual increase of 5.8 per cent, and a further growth of 16.3 per cent in January 2021, from a year earlier. The tourism sector is expected to gradually recover in 2021 along with the rollout of vaccinations locally and globally. The exchange rate has recorded intermittent volatility, and the Central Bank has taken steps to dampen excessive speculation causing such volatility in the foreign exchange market. The Sri Lankan rupee has depreciated by 4.5 per cent against the US dollar thus far in 2021 following the 2.6 per cent depreciation in 2020. Gross official reserves were estimated at US dollars 4.8 billion, with an import cover of 3.7 months, at end January 2021. Discussions are continuing on securing foreign financing. Furthermore, increased non-debt creating foreign exchange inflows are expected, supported by the measures introduced by the Government.
Galadari Colombo awarded ‘SLIM People’s Hotel Brand of the Year 2021’
The Galadari Colombo was given a thumbs up from the people as the People’s Hotel Brand of the Year for the second time running at the recently concluded SLIM (Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing) People’s Awards 2021.
The uniqueness of the SLIM People’s Awards is the fact that it is awarded by the public which shows the popular choice of the Sri Lankan people.
This is the 15th successful running of the much-anticipated event conducted by SLIM in association with Nielsen which is globally renowned for its measurement and consumer insights.
Having stood the test time of time in the hospitality industry for more than 3 decades the Galadari Colombo is hopeful to remain in the hearts of its people as a brand that is trustworthy and dedicated to service.
Expatriates’ organization painting competition for Sri Lankan children from care homes highlights close India-Sri Lanka ties
Celebrating 75 years of India’s independence in Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan children from care homes converged in Colombo from all across Sri Lanka over 10-11 April 2021 for the final round of the nationwide painting competition organized by Colombo Expatriates Cultural Association (CECA) – a voluntary organization of expatriates consisting of mainly Indians – with support of the High Commission of India, Ministry of Education of government of Sri Lanka and several other partners.
Prof. G.L Peiris, Minister of Education was the Chief Guest and Gopal Baglay, High Commissioner of India was the Guest of Honour at the final round. Several other dignitaries including State Minister Piyal Nishantha were also present. The dignitaries lauded the effort as a shining example of strong people-to-people ties between India and Sri Lanka and stressed the enormous significance of the enriching experience for the children.
The competition was held in three categories – Sub Junior, Junior and Senior. The first round of the competition had seen enthusiastic participation of 4,375 students from child care homes across Sri Lanka. Contestants from all provinces who had produced sixty best paintings were invited along with one care-giver for the final round held in Colombo on April 10 at Hotel Taj Samudra. While top three winners in all the three categories were awarded SLR 100,000, SLR 75,000 and SLR 50,000 respectively in addition to various other gifts, certificates and medals, all the 60 finalists received cash awards, desktop computers, and other gifts contributed by various sponsors.
The event also formed part of ‘India @ 75’ celebrations in Sri Lanka which comprise events and activities in the run up to completion of 75 years of India’s Independence in August 2022. Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi had launched these celebrations in India on March 12 2021, 75 weeks before the 75th Anniversary of Independence. In Sri Lanka, formal launch of these celebrations had taken place on April 9 2021 with the inauguration of ‘India Corner’ at the Nagananda Institute for Buddhist Studies.
Chrissworld to raise Rs. 56.25 million through IPO
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
Chrissworld Ltd. (CWL), an SME company engaged in the provision of third-party logistics (3PL) services, is gearing to raise up to Rs. 56.25 million via an initial public offering (IPO) on the Colombo Stock Exchange, sources said.
The company plans to offer 7,500,000 Ordinary Voting Shares for subscription at Rs. 7.50 per share. The subscription will open on April 27, with Atara Capital Partners representing the company as managers to the issue.
Meanwhile, the CSE noted in a statement that it has approved an application submitted by Chrissworld Ltd. for the listing of its Ordinary Voting Shares by way of an offer for subscription on the Empower Board of the CSE.
The company, starting off with Rs. 6 million capital in 2019, expanded its capital to Rs. 22.5 million and projects to obtain Rs. 79 million after the IPO.
Chrissworld will be earmarking milestones with the IPO as the first to be listed on the Empower Board, CSE’s newest listing platform, dedicated to SMEs. Further, Central Depository Systems (Pvt.) Ltd., a subsidiary company of CSE, will step in for the first time as the registrar to the issue.
Amid those developments the CSE started on a bullish note yesterday and during the latter part of the day with heavy retail investor participation the CSE witnessed a bullish trend. It is said that manufacturing sector counters became the most popular stocks during the day. Notable price appreciation was reported in Hayleys Group, Royal Ceramic Group and Distilleries.
Both indices moved upwards. The All Share Price Index went up by 100.10 points and S and P SL20 rose by 49.18 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3.51 billion with a crossing. The crossing was reported in JKH, which crossed 1.32 million shares to the tune of Rs. 199.3 million and its share price was Rs. 151.
In the retail market, companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; Royal Ceramic Rs. 511.2 million (1.46 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs. 359.9 million (4.5 million shares traded), Hayleys Group Rs. 359.9 million (4.5 million shares traded), Dipped Products Rs. 321 million (5.5 million shares traded), JKH Rs. 290 million (1.9 million shares traded), and Haycarb Rs. 177 million (1.5 million shares traded). During the day 87.8 million share volumes changed hands in 23900 transactions.
Hayleys shares appreciated by Rs. 6 or eight percent. Its shares started trading at Rs. 75.90 and at the end of the day they moved to Rs. 82. Royal Ceramic shares appreciated by Rs. 13.5 or nine percent. Its shares started trading at Rs. 328.25 and at the end of the day they moved to Rs. 358.75. Expolanka shares appreciated by Rs. 2.70 or five percent. Its shares started trading at Rs. 49.70 and at the end of the day they shot up to Rs. 52.40 and Distilleries shares appreciated by 70 cent or 3 percent from Rs. 20.20 to Rs. 20.90
Sri Lanka’s rupee quoted steady at 202.00/203 to the one month US dollar Monday, while gilt yields remained unchanged, dealers said.
The rupee last closed in the one-week forward market at 202/203 to the US dollar on Friday. Sri Lanka markets were dull as seasonal bliss kicks in.
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