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Export unit value index increased by 4.9%, its import counterpart surged by 15.4%

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Terms of trade deteriorated by 9.0 per cent

The export unit value index increased by 4.9 per cent, (year-on-year), in August 2022 due to higher prices registered in agricultural and industrial categories of exports. Meanwhile, the import unit value index in August 2022 increased by 15.4 per cent, (year-on-year), due to higher prices recorded in intermediate and investment goods. Accordingly, the terms of trade deteriorated by 9.0 per cent, (year-on-year), to 82.5 index points in August 2022,” Weekly Economic Indicators of the Central Bank stated.

It further stated: The average price of tea (in the Colombo auction) increased to US dollars 4.25 per kg in August 2022 from US dollars 2.95 per kg in August 2021.The import price of crude oil increased substantially by 53.2 per cent in August 2022 year-on-year.

OPEC+ agreed to cut production targets by 2 mn barrels per day which were the producers’ largest reduction since 2020. Overall, during the period under review, Brent and WTI prices increased by US dollars 6.86 per barrel and US dollars 6.73 per barrel, respectively. Weekly AWPR for the week ending 07th October 2022 increased by 75 bps to 26.70 per cent compared to the previous week.

The reserve money decreased compared to the previous week mainly due to decrease in the currency in circulation. The total outstanding market liquidity was a deficit of Rs. 517.427 bn by the end of this week, compared to a deficit of Rs. 568.46 bn by the end of last week.

By 07th October 2022, the All Share Price Index (ASPI) decreased by 8.88 per cent to 9,049.52 points and the S&P SL 20 Index decreased by 12.43 per cent to 2,771.83 points, compared to the index values of last week.

During the year up to 07th October 2022, the Sri Lankan rupee depreciated against the US dollar by 44.8 per cent. Given the cross currency exchange rate movements, the Sri Lankan rupee depreciated against the Indian rupee by 38.9 per cent, the Euro by 36.2 per cent, the pound sterling by 33.3 per cent and the Japanese yen by 30.4 per cent during this period.The gross official reserves were provisionally estimated at US dollars 1,777 mn as at end September 2022.

Earnings from exports increased by 12.6 per cent (year-on-year) to US dollars 8,902 mn during the eight months ending August 2022 as a result of increased earnings mainly from exports of textiles and garments (19.2%), petroleum products (39.0%), gems, diamonds and jewellery (55.7%), machinery and mechanical appliances (14.2%) and animal fodder (40.9%).

Import expenditure decreased by 4.6 per cent (year-on-year) to US dollars 12,801 mn during eight months ending August 2022, mainly due to lower imports of machinery and equipment (-19.8%), telecommunication devices (-82.4%), base metals (-45.9%) and medical and pharmaceuticals (-34.7%). Accordingly, the deficit in the trade account narrowed to US dollars 3,899 mn during the eight months ending August 2022 from US dollars 5,507 mn in the corresponding period of 2021.



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Tea industry targets USD 1.2 bn export turnover in 2023

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Sri Lanka will earn around USD 1.2 billion from tea exports for 2023 exporting around 260 million Kg, said Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, (SLTB) Niraj de Mel, last week.

SLTB is forecasting a modest growth for 2023 in comparison to the current year estimating an increased production of 290 million Kgs with export revenues expected to increase to USD 1.4 billion. Due to the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, during the first half of the year and a shortage of tea, sales caught up and auction prices increased sharply from March 2022. Despite fuel shortages and logistic issues, the Regional Plantation Companies and smallholders have been able to continue the harvesting of green leaf throughout the year. When compared to 2020 and 2021 volumes, the Green Leaf price to smallholders has increased exponentially from July 2022 onwards.

“The tea smallholder who used to get around Rs. 90 per kg three years ago is now getting around Rs. 250 per kg and some estates have paid nearly Rs. 1,000 per kg. He said that though the glyphosate fertiliser ban is lifted planters should not use it heavily as a ‘global ban of glyphosate’ is imminent for the tea industry. Some countries like Taiwan already reject tea grown with the use of glyphosate.” He recalled that tea production reached an all time high with a record of 340 million Kgs in 2013. “After short increases during the period 2017 to 2019, tea production recorded a decrease in 2020, mainly due to the fallout from the pandemic and now we are taking several steps to increase production.”

The Tea board is offering a host of financial grants and loans to the tea growers, factories as well as for exporters. “These include subsidies for replanting, fertiliser for growers, special grants and loans for factories to upgrade their machinery and soft loans for exporters for packaging. These facilities exceed Rs. 4 billion per year.”

Tea Commissioner E. Edirisinghe said that they would also provide Rs. I million for tea factory expansion which comes as a grant. “In addition, we pay 3% of the capital when factories install solar,” he said.

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UTECH Technologies recognised at Sahasak Nimavum Innovation Awards

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UTECH Technologies (Pvt) Limited, Sri Lanka’s leading Industry 4.0 transformation solutions provider won the most prestigious innovation award, the DASIS award at the Sahasak Nimavum National Innovation Awards held recently. The DASIS Award is judged across all competing categories and only awarded to the innovation that shows novelty in technology and has been commercialized successfully. This award is judged by a learned panel of national and international judges including academia and industry experts. UTECH also won overall gold for best commercialized ICT innovation. UTECH has won many national and international awards, including the overall gold for “IoT technology of the year” at the Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) in 2021.

UTECH’s Managing Director, Riyad Ismail said, “Having many Sri Lankan industrial conglomerates as our clients, we have started exporting our hardware and software solutions to world markets.”

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David Pieris Group imparts three-wheeler mechanic skills to 20 women in Jaffna

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Producing skilled female labour and encouraging active participation of women in the economy of the Nation, the David Pieris Group successfully concluded another mechanical training programme in Jaffna recently.

The women who completed the programme titled ‘Empowering Women Through Technical Training’ received a NVQ (National Vocational Qualifications) Level 01 certificate and comprehensive 02 tool kits at the awards ceremony held at the North Gate Hotel, Jaffna on the 09th November 2022. 20 women from the Northern Province including the Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya Districts participated in this programme.

This programme, was initiated by the David Pieris Group in association with the Sri Lanka Women’s Bureau under the Ministry of Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment in 2017 and is the first and only mechanic based technical Programme exclusively targeting women.

Speaking at the ceremony Samantha Silva, Chief Marketing Officer, David Pieris Motor Company (Pvt.) Ltd said; “This initiative will provide the technical training required to attend to any type of repair related to three-wheelers with the ultimate goal of creating trained, certified women mechanics, especially in the Northern Province which has an increased percentage of women led families and communities post three decades of civil war.”

The candidates for the programme were selected in collaboration with the DPMC Dealer network in the Northern Province. Upon completing the theory segment of the technical training, the candidates had the opportunity of attending to practical repair work at DPMC service dealers in their respective areas in order to gain necessary and valuable hands- on experience. At the conclusion of the programme subject to a final assessment, they were certified as mechanics.

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