Improvements in trade deficit and worker remittances
External sector performance – January 2021 overview extracts
Sri Lanka’s external sector continued to recover in many aspects during January 2021, mainly supported by an improved trade deficit and a notable increase in workers’ remittances. The reduced deficit in the trade account in January 2021 compared to January 2020 was the result of a larger decline in merchandise imports over merchandise exports.
Meanwhile, workers’ remittances continued to record a notable growth in January 2021, strengthening the external current account. In the financial account, foreign investment in the government securities market recorded a marginal net inflow while the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recorded net outflows in January 2021. The Sri Lankan rupee experienced depreciation pressure in January 2021, but measures taken by the Central Bank and the continuation of restrictions on non-essential imports by the government helped contain this pressure.
The deficit in the trade account narrowed in January 2021 by US dollars 63 million to US dollars 667 million, from US dollars 730 million recorded in January 2020, with a larger decline in imports compared to the decline in exports. In December 2020, the trade deficit was US dollars 562 million.
Terms of trade, i.e., the ratio of the price of exports to the price of imports, improved by 7.0 per cent in January 2021, compared to January 2020, with higher export prices and lower import prices compared to January 2020.
Earnings from merchandise exports in January 2021 were 8.0 per cent lower compared to January 2020. Earnings from exports in January 2021 were recorded at US dollars 924 million compared to US dollars 1,005 million in January 2020 and US dollars 964 million in December 2020.
Earnings from the export of industrial goods declined by 11.4 per cent in January 2021 compared to a year ago, mainly due to the decline in the export of textiles and garments by 10.8 per cent and the decline in the export of petroleum products by 58.5 per cent. The export of garments to all major destinations recorded a decline. Earnings from the export of petroleum products that comprises bunkering and aviation fuel and other petroleum products declined due to the decline in quantities supplied as well as the decline in prices. Further, exports under gems, diamonds and jewellery and many of the smaller export segments declined. However, sizable increases were recorded in relation to rubber products (mainly surgical and other gloves, and tyres); machinery and mechanical appliances (mainly electrical and electronic equipment); food, beverages and tobacco (mainly vegetables, fruits and nut preparations), among others.
Export earnings from agricultural goods increased by 5.9 per cent in January 2021 on a year-on-year basis, mainly due to the increase in the export of spices, such as cinnamon, pepper and cloves. Earnings from tea exports increased marginally due to the price increase, while volume exported had declined. The export of coconut fibres, natural rubber and unmanufactured tobacco also recorded marginal increases. Most of the other agricultural export categories recorded a decline in earnings.
Mineral exports increased in January 2021 compared to January 2020, mainly due to the increase in export of titanium and zirconium ores, slag and other precious metals.
The export volume index declined by 10.2 per cent while the unit value index increased by 2.5 per cent on a year-on-year basis in January 2021. This indicates that the decline in export earnings was due to lower export volumes.(CBSL)
Share investors worried over Wealth and Heritage tax
By Hiran H Senewiratne
CSE trading kicked off on a positive note yesterday but the momentum could not be sustained for long owing to investor worries that the government is planning domestic debt restructuring involving the imposition of a wealth and heritage tax on citizens, market sources said.
Amid those developments both indices moved downwards. The All -Share Price Index went down by 131 points and S and P SL-20 declined by 46.8 points. Turnover stood at Rs 3.4 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Agalawattte Plantations, which crossed 45.3 million shares to the tune of Rs 1.5 billion, its shares traded at Rs 35, CTC 420,000 shares crossed for Rs 269 million and its shares traded at Rs 640, Cargills 100,000 shares crossed to the tune of Rs 24.5 million; its shares traded at Rs 245 and Hayleys 300,000 shares crossed for Rs 24 million; its shares traded at Rs 80.
In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, SLT Rs 234 million (two million shares traded), Hayleys RS 121 million (1.5 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 106 million (115,000 shares traded), Softlogic Capital Rs 69 million (5.6 million shares traded), CTC Rs 65.3 million (101,000 shares traded), Sampath Bank RS 54.7 million (one million shares traded) and Commercial Bank RS 52.5 million (801,000 shares traded).During the day 164 million share volumes changed hands in 20000 transactions.
Brandix ‘RightToRead’ initiative gains momentum enriching Sri Lanka students and transforming learning
Inspired by the challenge to provide Sri Lankan children with better access to learning materials and the transformative power to read and comprehend English, Brandix launched the ‘RightToRead’ project in 2018 in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
Accordingly, Brandix introduced the ‘ReadToMe’ English learning tool, created by English Helper – India, to improve reading and comprehension skills of Sri Lankan students. Last Monday, Julie Chung, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, visited Susamayawardhana Vidyalaya in Borella, to observe progress of the project and experience how children and educators in Sri Lanka engage with educational technology.
Brandix Lanka Limited, Director, Ajit Johnpillai, said: “Education is the most powerful tool to enrich communities and futures, and Brandix is committed to build a strong foundation for transformational learning for students across Sri Lanka. The progress we have made with RiteToRead over the past two years is promising, and the potential for change in the education sector harnessing such digital technologies is immeasurable. Brandix will continue its commitment to deliver Inspired Solutions for the people of Sri Lanka.”
Dialog TV Boosts Resilience and Capacity with Norsat Satellite Earth Station
Hytera, a leading global provider of professional communications technologies and solutions, is proud to announce the successful deployment of a new backup satellite station for Dialog TV, Sri Lanka’s No.1 satellite Pay TV service provider. The project was fulfilled in 2022 by Hytera and its subsidiary specialized in Satellite Communications (SatCom), Norsat International Inc. The new station enhances the resilience and capacity of Dialog TV’s existing system and ensures continuity of service in the event of damage due to natural disasters.
Dialog TV provides coverage over the entirety of Sri Lanka through the Intelsat 38 Ku-band satellite. As the business expanded, it opted for a backup solution to support its existing satellite station and to strengthen the network’s disaster tolerance.
Hytera and Norsat provided an end-to-end satellite earth station solution that includes the installation, integration, and setup of satellite antennas, a transmission and receiving system, a new network management system (NMS), and a carrier monitoring system (CMS). The NMS makes routine work easier and simpler for on-duty staff, as equipment status, parameter monitoring and configuration, and remote control of the devices can be viewed and accomplished via a single interface. The CMS monitors the carrier spectrum status of satellite signals in real-time and ensures stable signal transmission and receiving.
“We are excited to have been able to work with Dialog TV on this important project,” said Kevin Sun, Sales Director for Hytera South Asia, “Our ability to seamlessly integrate our new equipment and software with Dialog TV’s existing systems has helped to ensure a stable and reliable service for their millions of customers across Sri Lanka.”
Parents can be tried for son’s school shooting: Appeals court
N Korea tests new underwater nuclear attack ‘drone’: State media
Showers in Sabaragamuwa, Central, Uva, Southern, North-Western and North-Central provinces in afternoon or night
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
U.S. Congress to probe assets fleecing by US citizens of Sri Lankan origin
News5 days ago
Sri Lankan recognized as a Fellow by Society of Architectural Historians
News5 days ago
New orchid species discovered in Walankada Forest Reserve
News4 days ago
Geoffrey Bawa exhibition opens in New Delhi
Editorial6 days ago
‘Shree Anna’ and Sri Lanka
Features4 days ago
A tribute to a great leader
Breaking News6 days ago
Arrest warrant issued for Putin over alleged war crimes
News1 day ago
Decorated gunship pilot blacklisted for appearing on political stage
News4 days ago
MPs urged to defeat move to conduct Law College exams only in English medium