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Export earnings exceed USD 1 billion for ninth consecutive month

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External Sector Performance – February 2022

The momentum of export earnings continued with over US dollars 1.0 billion for the ninth consecutive month in February 2022. Meanwhile, import expenditure also increased substantially in February 2022, year-on-year, while recording a decline, compared to the previous month. The trade deficit widened, compared to year before. Tourist arrivals showed a notable recovery in February 2022 over the same month in the previous year. Workers’ remittances continued to moderate in February 2022.

Foreign investment in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recorded a net inflow during the month. The weighted average spot exchange rate in the interbank market hovered around Rs. 202 per US dollar during February 2022. However, the Central Bank allowed a measured adjustment in the exchange rate in the first week of March 2022, in view of the heightened pressures on the exchange rate amidst subdued liquidity in the domestic foreign exchange market, resulting in an overshoot subsequently by market forces beyond the expected level of depreciation in the measured adjustment.

Merchandise Trade Balance and Terms of Trade Trade Balance: The deficit in the trade account widened to US dollars 781 million in February 2022, compared to the deficit of US dollars 572 million recorded in February 2021. However, on a month- on-month basis, the trade deficit declined in February 2022 from US dollars 859 million recorded in January 2022. Meanwhile, the cumulative deficit in the trade account during January to February 2022 widened to US dollars 1,640 million from US dollars 1,227 million recorded over the same period in 2021. The major contributory factors of the trade deficit are shown in

Figure 1.

Terms of Trade: Terms of trade, i.e., the ratio of the price of exports to the price of imports,

deteriorated by 10.7 per cent in February 2022, compared to February 2021, as the increase in import prices surpassed the increase in export prices.

Performance of Merchandise Exports

Overall exports: Earnings from merchandise exports in February 2022 grew by 14.7 per cent over February 2021, recording at US dollars 1,092 million. An increase in earnings was observed in industrial exports and mineral exports, while a decrease was observed in agricultural exports. The cumulative export earnings, which increased by 16.1 per cent during January-February 2022 over the same period of the last year, amounted to US dollars 2,192 million.

Industrial exports: Earnings from the export of industrial goods increased in February 2022 by 19.4 per cent, compared to February 2021. This increase was due to a broad-based increase in earnings from most of the industrial products led mainly by garments and petroleum products. Export of garments to all major markets improved. Earnings from the export of petroleum products increased due to the increase in both prices and volumes of bunker and aviation fuel exports. Further, a sizable increase was recorded in the exports of food, beverages and tobacco (mainly manufactured tobacco, chocolate and liquid coconut milk), base metals and articles (mainly tools and aluminium structures), rubber products (mainly solid tires and surgical rubber gloves), gems, diamonds and jewellery, machinery and mechanical appliances (mainly mechanical appliances parts and electric conductors).

However, a marginal decline in earnings was reported in the categories of Personal Protective

Equipment (PPE), such as face masks categorised under made up textile articles, and plastic clothing articles categorised under plastics and articles, reflecting the decline in demand for such items.

Agricultural exports: Total earnings from the exports of agricultural goods in February 2022 declined by 2.1 per cent, compared to February 2021, due to the decrease in export earnings from tea, spices and unmanufactured tobacco. The drop in export earnings from tea by 10.4 per cent (y-o-y) was mainly due to lower export volumes (a decline of 9.1 per cent), while average export prices (a decline of 1.4 per cent) also partly contributed to this decline.

(CBSL)



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Dialog Smart Home Enables Seamless Home Automation via Range of Intuitive Solutions 

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Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, introduced a range of convenient and integrated solutions via ‘Dialog Smart Home’ to enable intelligent automation and intuitive control of homes.

The newly introduced range of future-fit smart home solutions by Dialog Smart Home ranges from Home Automation, Home Security & Surveillance and Home Connectivity, and are designed to enable any home to work as one harmonious system where all elements work in tandem together to create a truly intelligent home.

The Home Automation solutions offer homeowners seamless and convenient control of their electronic appliances through their smartphones anytime, anywhere. With the Smart Touch Wall Switches, Smart Power Strips and Smart Fan Controllers, homeowners can take control of existing light bulbs, table fans, rice cookers, chargers, ceiling fans and more appliances. Additionally, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered TeDi Alexa Solution enables users to control connected smart devices including TVs, air conditioners, home security systems and more through voice commands.

Home Security & Surveillance solutions transform basic cameras into high-powered CCTV solutions. Baby and house monitoring smart cameras can be placed inside homes to keep a 360-degree eye on children and pets. The Indoor Security Camera has the ability to sound a siren and notify users if a stranger enters their home. Dialog Smart Home has also partnered with Singer to offer customers world-renowned Dahua CCTV solutions.

The Home Connectivity solutions offers consumers Wi-Fi extenders to facilitate uninterrupted internet connectivity across the house to fit the homeowner’s lifestyle and requirements.

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CBSL implements extraordinary measures to support banking sector

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The Central Bank of Sri Lanka, considering the prevailing macroeconomic conditions and its impact on the banking sector, has decided to implement the following regulatory measures to support the banking sector to facilitate effective financial intermediation and the flow of credit to the economy, whilst ensuring the soundness of the banking sector.

• Sri Lankan banking sector maintains a Capital Conservation Buffer (CCB) of 2.5% to ensure that banks have an additional layer of usable capital that can be drawn down during stress times. An industry wide flexibility is granted for banks to drawdown the CCB (up to 2.5%), if needed, subject to restrictions on distribution to shareholders/ repatriation of profits and submission of a capital augmentation plan to rebuild CCB during a period up to three years.

• The current deadline for licensed banks to meet the enhanced minimum capital requirement (31.12.2022) is extended up to 31.12.2023. Licensed banks which are unable to meet the minimum capital requirement by 31.12.2022, need to submit their capital augmentation plan, including plans to consolidate or merge with suitable financial institutions, by 31.12.2022 and these licensed banks too shall refrain from distribution of dividends/ repatriation of profits until the minimum capital requirement is met.

• Licensed banks are encouraged to move to approaches such as The Standardised Approach (TSA) or alternative TSA for computation of risk weighted assets for operational risk for the purposes of computing the Capital Adequacy Ratio, subject to supervisory review.

• Licensed banks are given the flexibility to stagger the unrealised mark to market loss on Government Securities denominated in LKR on account of the recent interest rate hike for Capital Adequacy purposes until Q2 of 2024, subject to conditions.

• Licensed banks are granted flexibility on the treatment for Other Comprehensive Income (OCI) for Capital Adequacy purpose in line with the International Standards.

• The deadline for licensed banks to submit the document on Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process (ICAAP) for 2022, to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka is extended by one month, until 30.06.2022.

• As a short-term measure to support licensed banks to adjust their liquidity profiles, licensed banks are provided with the flexibility to operate maintaining the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) and Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) not lower than 90% up to 30.09.2022. Furthermore, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, on 06 May 2022 decided to restrict certain discretionary payments of licensed banks, such as declaring cash dividends and repatriation of profits, until the financial statements for the year 2022 are audited by its External Auditor, engaging in share buy backs, increasing management allowances and payments to the Board of Directors until 31 December 2022 with a view to strengthening the liquidity and capital positions of licensed banks under these exceptional circumstances.

The above measures were introduced with the aim of providing the licensed banks with more flexibility and opportunities to operate in these challenging conditions and support economic recovery, while taking measures to improve their safety and soundness. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka will periodically review the implementation of these policy measures and expects licensed banks to avail these measures in the best interest of the customers and the economy at large, while supporting the banking sector to remain resilient.

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CEAT official tyre supplier for locally assembled Tata Ace HT 

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CEAT Kelani Holdings has been appointed as the official tyre supplier for Tata Ace HT series compact trucks which are assembled in Sri Lanka by DIMO in collaboration with India’s largest automobile manufacturer TATA Motors.

 CEAT RHINO PLUS TL tyres in the size of 155R12 8PR, manufactured at the CEAT Kelani plant in Kelaniya are used for the TATA Ace HT series vehicles, popularly known in Sri Lanka as “DIMO Batta” under this project. The locally manufactured CEAT RHINO PLUS TL tyre features a zig zag pattern on its circumference and ribs with lateral notches that contribute towards uniformity and better wear and tear on local roads.

 Commenting on this latest OEM agreement of the company, CEAT Kelani Holdings Managing Director Mr. Ravi Dadlani said: “As a brand that has been at the forefront of local value addition in Sri Lanka, CEAT is excited to contribute further to the process through its association with this assembly operation. This is particularly relevant in the prevailing situation in the domestic market. We are able to provide high-quality tyres engineered for local conditions at competitive prices and ensure uninterrupted supply, while at the same time helping to conserve foreign exchange.”

In January this year, CEAT was appointed as an OEM for a range of heavy-duty trucks, tippers and light commercial vehicles assembled in Sri Lanka by Lanka Ashok Leyland PLC (LAL), a joint venture company of Ashok Leyland India. In November 2021 the brand was chosen as the OEM for Bolero City Pik-up vehicles assembled in Sri Lanka by Mahindra & Mahindra India in collaboration with Ideal Motors.

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