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CSE’s newest digital push expected to make it worth US$ 60 billion in 5 years

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) with its newest digitalization drive should do well enough in the next 5 years to accumulate a market capitalization of US $ 60 billion, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, State Minister of Money and Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms said yesterday.

“Then the Colombo Stock Exchange will have a capacity which can provide funding not only to the government sector but also to the private sector making sure that the President’s goals of prosperity will be achieved,” he said.

Minister Cabraal made these remarks on the trading floor of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) yesterday at a special market opening ceremony where Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa launched a new digital platform for CSE, enhancing the investment experience for investors, stockbrokers, listed companies and other stakeholders.

The digital strategy themed ‘Hyper-Leap to the future’ is formed to digitalise all stakeholder touchpoints enabling end to end connectivity electronically. It will position Sri Lanka to become a global financial hub redefining the stock market landscape.

Elaborating on his point the state minister said,” As a person who on been involved in the stock exchange and securities matters for a long time in various capacities, I know how difficult it is to get a project of this nature going. I know you have put in a lot of work. Way back in 1993 at the time I was the president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, we organized the mCentral Depository System (CDS) for the first time. I think that was a revolution – a special one- because all the brokers who were struggling with share certificates and documentation were suddenly relieved of all these duties and they could go out and sell, go out and make the market a lot more vibrant. I see an opportunity like that once again,

“The digitalization will take away from brokers as well as market players a lot of paperwork and mundane tasks that have been so far done by you personally. When you are relieved of these duties I am sure you will find enough time to make the market work more efficiently and productively. You need to have buyers whose numbers are increasing and you need to have sellers who will be providing the supply of shares in this business. This means you need to focus on these vital areas and aspects in the market.

“You have got to make sure that the number of shares you have is expanded regularly. I have been around long enough to know that the number of companies that have been trading on the stock exchange has remained almost stagnant for so many years. Every time when someone asks how many companies are there on the stock exchange, we say 200 something. I think this ‘200 something’ has been the number for the last 30 years. So, 5 years from now, we’d like to see this number being spoken of as ‘500 something’. I think you all can do that. As CSE chairman already mentioned there is an effort to make these numbers grow. There is ample opportunity. If all of you take the pains to do that, you can make it happen.

“In 2014, when President Mahinda Rajapaksa relinquished office at the end of 2014 – the market capitalization of CSE was 25 billion dollars. By the end of 2019, it came down to just half of that. – only 12 ½ billion dollars, marking a massive drop. We need to grow this market again. We need to make sure that your efforts are directed towards making the market to expand. The Director General of SEC said, you want the government to come here and use this as a repository of funds. With a 12 ½ billion dollar market cap, I don’t think you can do that. So set your sights high. Set your sights at US $ 60 billion dollars, if I may suggest, for the next 5 years. Then you will have a capacity which can provide funding not only to the government sector but to the private sector making sure that the President’s goals of prosperity will be achieved.

“My Friends, we have our work cut out. The President and the Prime Minister have given you the indication that support will be extended to the stock exchange. I have been appointed as state minister in order to make us responsible for that task. So, I personally will be supporting you. I would like to see you take the direction to move forward. Now you have digitalization in place. I think you need to build on that foundation. There will be plenty to do to achieve our goal. You have got to make sure that you bring in capital that will support the market. This is not going to be easy. I remember from 2007 onwards we were going abroad, we were making sure that capital was adequate in this country.- When we could not raise it globally, we raised it from foreign sources. So, you need to do that. You need to provide capital to companies and you need to provide capital so that new instruments could also be put in place in this country. It would be of total relevance to see an SME Board, a Startup Board, an IT Board and maybe a mechanism to list the BOI companies also on the stock exchange. This means there ‘s plenty of space. Now that you have had the first hurdle cleared, the next is also going to be exciting and we’d like to see you take it up from here. Together we can usher in an era of prosperity in our country with the participation of a truly representative investor community,” he said.

SEC chairman President’s Counsel Viraj Dayaratne, SEC Director General Chinthaka Mendis, CSE chairman Dumith Fernando, and CSE CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike also spoke at the event.

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realme dares to leap into Sri Lankan youth market with cutting edge devices

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realme, the world’s fastest-growing smartphone brand, launched its products in Sri Lanka on the November 23. The virtual launch event took place with the participation of Chanux bro and realme Sri Lanka team where benchmark, trendsetting realme products were introduced to the Sri Lankan market.

The launch expands the reach of the fastest smartphone brand to reach 50 million product sales worldwide, to a brand new market with young users looking for the very best in technology and smart devices. Ranked among the Top 5 brands in over 13 markets globally in just two years of operation, realme is ranked seventh globally. Proclaiming it will ‘dare to leap’, realme identifies with young people who are willing to take a risk, and has launched four cutting edge products to the Sri Lanka market, set to exceed expectations.

realme 7 – sharper captures and cooler gaming with faster charges

realme 7 grabs the imagination of the youth with a 64MP Quad Camera with Sony IMX682 sensor for sharper captures, the World’s First MediaTek Helio G95 Gaming Processor for cool gaming and a 30W Dart Charge, taking just 26 mins to get 5000mAh battery 50% Charged. The sleek smartphone comes with a 6.5-inch 90Hz Ultra Smooth Display with a 16MP In-display Selfie Camera and Starry Mode.

The first smartphone to have passed TÜV Rheinland Smartphone Reliability, realme 7 is the first in segment smartphone with the Sony 64MP Quad Camera.

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President to inaugurate CCC Sri Lanka Economic Summit

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Sri Lanka’s foremost economic summit will be inaugurated by Chief Guest Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on December 1. The summit is themed “Roadmap for Take-off: Driving a People Centric Economic Revival”. The President will also deliver the inaugural address.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, will launch the second phase of the summit on December 2 and participate in the VVIP session focused on “Empowering Take-off: Efficient Government and Progressive State Enterprises.”

The Inaugural session on December 1, commencing at 8.30am will feature addresses by keynote speaker Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of the Republic of India and Guest of Honour Ajith Nivard Cabraal, State Minister of Money and Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms. Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya – chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce will deliver the welcome address.

The flagship summit will be held on a virtual format in compliance with health guidelines and will bring together key policymakers, business leaders as well as the input of top international thought leaders will come together to identify the steps in developing the pathway towards the accelerated and people centric revival of the country’s economy.

Participants may register for the entire two-day virtual summit, or pick the sessions of their choice, an opportunity offered for the first time. Registrations for the event are now open. For further information, please contact Niroshini on niroshini@chamber.lk or 0115588852; or Alikie on alikie@chamber.lk or 0115588805. (CCC)

 

 

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Central Bank’s policy rates decision to be driven by two options

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Central Bank will be reviewing its monetary policy stance on November 26. In this context, First Capital Research has put forward strong arguments both for and against an interest rate cut, in its Pre-Policy Analysis.

Making their argument against further relaxation in monetary policy First Capital said, “As a response to the measures taken by the government, private sector credit has improved to Rs. 87.4Bn in September while market liquidity reached Rs. 140 bn by 13th Nov indicating that there is surplus liquidity in the system. Moreover, the unemployment rate, which was at 5.7% in the 1Q2020 has declined to 5.4% in the second quarter. These indicators suggest that economic activity has remained steady without much deterioration in the 2Q. Except the GDP growth numbers, where the 2Q2020 figures are yet to be seen, other indicators are signifying a recovery, inquiring the need of further policy easing at the upcoming review”.

“In response to previous monetary easing measures implemented by CBSL, to bring down costs of borrowing of businesses and households, both market deposit and lending rates adjusted notably so far during the year. AWPR declined to historic lows in recent weeks, while banks’ lending rates also witnessed a downward adjustment in line with CBSL’s expectations. We believe that considering the recovery in the private credit and historic low levels in AWPR, there is no vital requirement for CBSL to provide a rate cut and to further bring down the market lending rates drastically”.

Their arguments for further relaxation in monetary policy was: “A thrust for development is the need of the current government. We estimate that Sri Lanka’s GDP would see its steepest contraction in history of -5.8% in 2020 following the unexpected contraction in 1Q GDP growth of -1.6% while 2Q GDP figures are yet to be seen. However, the government’s key drive is the development oriented economic growth which was spelt out through the budget 2021 as well. Accordingly, the government plans to reach 6% and above GDP growth during the next 5 years commencing from 2021. As we believe, a development-oriented budget coupled with further low interest rate environment can support the government’s medium-term goals. Therefore, the need to accelerate the GDP growth can be considered as a major factor favouring further policy easing at the upcoming review.”

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