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External Sector Performance – December 2022

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*  Earnings from exports remained resilient during 2022 recording the highest ever exports,

while expenditure on imports declined significantly in 2022, compared to 2021.

*  Merchandise trade deficit recorded the lowest in 2022, since 2010.

*  Foreign investments in the government securities market and Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recorded a notable net inflow during 2022 compared to net outflow in 2021.

*  The recovery in earnings from tourism persisted in 2022 and marked a noticeable growth, although workers’ remittances moderated in 2022, compared to 2021.

Performance of Merchandise Trade in 2022

Earnings from exports in 2022 surpassed US dollars 13 billion per year for the first time, recording an increase of 4.9 per cent from the previous highest recorded in 2021. This improvement was a result of increased earnings from industrial exports, including garments, gems, diamonds and jewellery, machinery and mechanical appliances and petroleum products. Meanwhile, total import expenditure in 2022 amounted to US dollars 18,291 million, recording a decline of 11.4 per cent, year-on-year, resulted from measures to restrict non-urgent imports and liquidity constraints prevailed in the market for the most part of 2022. As a result, the deficit in the trade account in 2022 narrowed to the lowest level since 2010 to US dollars 5,185 million, from US dollars 8,139 million recorded in 2021.

The major contributory factors for the decline in the cumulative trade deficit in 2022 are shown in Merchandise Trade Balance The deficit in the merchandise trade account narrowed to US dollars 358 million in December 2022, from US dollars 1,085 million recorded in December 2021, helped by a larger decline in imports, compared to the decline in exports.

Performance of Merchandise Exports1 Overall exports:

Earnings from merchandise exports declined by 7.7 per cent in December 2022, over December 2021, to US dollars 1,068 million. The decline in earnings from industrial exports mainly contributed to the decline in export earnings in December 2022.

Industrial exports: Earnings from the export of industrial goods declined in December 2022, compared to December 2021, mainly due to the lower exports of garments resulted from reduced spending capacity associated with high inflation and recessionary concerns in most of the major markets (the USA, the EU and the UK). Similarly, earnings from rubber products continued to decline due to the lower exports of tires and household rubber gloves. Further, a sizable decline was recorded in the exports of food, beverages, and tobacco (mainly, manufactured tobacco), although earnings from gems, diamonds, and jewellery; and machinery and mechanical appliances (mainly, electronic equipment) increased.

Agricultural exports: Earnings from tea exports marginally declined with the higher average export prices of tea was offset by the decline in volume exported, resulted from the lag effect of the unavailability of adequate fertiliser. Earnings from the export of other agricultural goods declined in December 2022, compared to a year ago, resulted from lower export volumes of pepper, categorised under spices.

Mineral exports: Earnings from mineral exports increased in December 2022, compared to December 2021, mainly due to the increase in export of titanium ores.



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Pan Asia Bank posts steady performance during FY 2023 –

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Aravinda Perera- Chairman & Naleen Edirisinghe - Director CEO of Pan Asia Bank

Profit before Tax increases by 258% amidst external challenges

Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC reflected a steady performance amidst multitude of adversities emerging from challenging macro-economic conditions as the Bank reported its financial performance during 2023, which showed judicious portfolio management and prudency exercised in dealing with possible fallout on its asset quality in challenging times.

The Bank reported a Pre-tax Profit of Rs. 2,328 Mn for the year ended 31st December 2023, which is 258% increase compared to corresponding period last year, supported by improved net interest income, increased trading gains from government securities and reduced exchange losses.

The Sri Lankan economy has experienced some positive signs of gradual economic recovery and a measure of stability in macro-economic factors compared to the previous year, with the appreciation of LKR against USD and the IMF bailout followed by the Domestic Debt Optimization (DDO) announcement. The multiple economic scenario models used regarding collective impairment in 2022 were continued in 2023 to ensure that adequate buffers were in place to absorb any potential credit risk that could arise in the future. The allowance for overlays applied in previous year was continued and maintained during 2023 too. Meanwhile, the Bank managed to end the year with healthy credit quality matrices due to improved credit underwriting standards and concerted collection & recovery efforts despite the contraction in the loan book during 2023 which impacted the Bank’s Stage 3 Loan Ratio adversely.

Furthermore, the Bank increased impairment provision buffers held regarding investments in International Sovereign Bonds of Government of Sri Lanka (SLISBs) further during 2023 with the expectation of possible adverse outcomes of the on-going government External Debt Restructuring (EDR) programme. The Bank recognised an impairment charge of nearly Rs. 2 Bn regarding International Sovereign Bonds during 2023.

The interest income for the year 2023 rose by 39% due to the high interest rates that prevailed during the period under review compared to corresponding period of the last year and the re-pricing effect of facilities in response to the market conditions. Further, the growth in interest income was supported by the increased interest income from Rupee denominated securities of the Government of Sri Lanka (T-Bills & Bonds) due to increased investments and high interest rates offered on such new investments compared to the previous year. Consequently, the net interest income increased by 9% in 2023 compared to the last year. (Pan Asia Bank)

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SLT-MOBITEL celebrates the season of love with exciting giveaways

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SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT Solutions Provider, celebrated Valentine’s Day with a series of heartwarming promotions and networking activities, spreading love and joy for customers across the country.

Connecting hearts from all around the world on social media, SLT-MOBITEL invited participants to share their loving memories for a chance to win movie tickets. Customers were also given the opportunity to dedicate romantic ringing tones to their loved ones by dialling special codes.

As part of the Valentine’s Day celebrations, SLT-MOBITEL also offered a special promotion, providing a special screening for the glamorous movie ‘Sihinayeki Adarey’, powered by SLT-MOBITEL. Furthermore, customers were treated to a surprise bonus of 10GB of free data upon recharging their SLT-MOBITEL mobile numbers with Rs. 500 or more through any banking app.

Taking love to the hill country, in a special engagement event at the Kandy City Centre, fans were able to participate in activities and interact with the ‘Sihinayeki Adarey’ cast including Hemal Ranasinghe, Sheshadri Priyasad, and many others.

Through these exciting promotions, SLT-MOBITEL helped spread love and joy this season while enhancing the customer experience with exclusive activities.

To discover more of SLT-MOBITEL’s Valentine’s Day promotions, visit https://www.facebook.com/SLTMobitel.

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Call for Proposals: Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2024

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The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) is inviting proposals for the Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2024. The grant is an annual, merit-based grant awarded to an outstanding undergraduate studying in a Sri Lankan university. It aims to promote policy entrepreneurs among undergraduates by encouraging policy-relevant, rigorous and innovative socio-economic research.

The grant was established in 2018 to honour Dr. Saman Kelegama’s legacy of independent research and public policy engagement in socio-economic development in Sri Lanka and the wider South Asian region. Dr. Kelegama was the Executive Director of the IPS from 1995 to 2017.

Fourth-year undergraduates studying economics or a related subject in a University Grants Commission approved university or higher education institution in Sri Lanka are eligible to apply. Proposals must be written according to the guidelines provided and emailed to tharakam@ips.lk on or before the submission deadline of 30 April 2024.

HOW WILL THE WINNER BE CHOSEN? The quality of the proposals will be judged for its policy relevance, feasibility, originality and creativity. Three finalists will be chosen and invited to present their proposals at the IPS, where the award recipient will be selected.

OUTCOMES OF THE GRANTS – The recipient will be expected to produce a Policy Discussion Brief within six months of receiving the grant. The research report can be written individually or jointly with an IPS senior researcher.

BENEFITS OF THE GRANT – The beneficiary will be awarded a one-time research grant of LKR 200,000 to carry out the proposed research and a three-month internship at the IPS. The recipient will be able to seek guidance from senior researchers and benefit from IPS resources to complete the proposed study during the internship. To enable students from all over Sri Lanka to benefit from this opportunity, the terms of the internship will be flexible. The internship can either be a fully in-house internship at IPS, or it can be an in-house plus online internship. In the case of the second option, the in-house component of the internship should be at least six weeks. To encourage research dissemination, an additional subsidy will be provided for presenting the research findings at local conferences and workshops.

Important Dates

30 April 2024 – Deadline for Submission of Proposals

01 June 2024 – Announcement of Finalists

23 June 2024 – Announcement of the Winner

Further information is available at: https://www.ips.lk/saman-kelegama-memorial-research-grant/

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