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Losses incurred by energy utilities threaten stability of banks : Advocata

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The total liabilities owed by the CPC to the country’s two state banks, is a staggering Rs. 707,505 million ( USD3.5 billion) by the end of July 2021

“The losses incurred by energy utilities have been financed by the state banks and have grown so large they now threaten the stability of the banks. The total liabilities owed by the state-owned monopoly, the CPC (Ceylon Petroleum Corporation) to the country’s two state banks, is a staggering Rs. 707,505 million ( USD3.5 billion) by the end of July 2021. Ensuring energy prices are no longer subsidised will reduce further debt accumulation by the state banks,” a press statement issued by Advocata Institute on Saturday said.

Elaborating on the situation Advocata said:

“Sri Lanka pitches into darkness and its people form lines at fuel stations due to the ongoing energy crisis. Fuel, which is the single largest import accounting for 18% of the country’s total import expenditure, cost an alarming USD 3.7 billion in 2021.”

“Since the actual cost of petrol and diesel is significantly higher than the current selling price, it promotes excessive consumption. This is in direct contradiction to the government’s other policies that are aimed at reducing imports.”

“Although there have been some increases in fuel prices recently, they are inadequate. Sri Lanka continues to sell fuel at a significant loss. Diesel is sold at a loss of LKR 46.80, while petrol is sold at a loss of LKR 18.37. Sri Lanka’s price of fuel is also below its neighbours. The selling price of petrol in India is about LKR 259.44, while diesel is about LKR 235.8. The selling price of petrol in Bangladesh is about LKR 202 while diesel sells at about LKR 188.23. Fuel, therefore, continues to be underpriced, highlighting a serious structural flaw in Sri Lanka’s fuel pricing mechanism.”

“Therefore a sharp increase in fuel prices is now unavoidable to prevent destabilising the financial sector and to prevent shortages of fuel supplies. Unless the root causes of the problem are addressed and the interest rates, foreign exchange rates and other key prices within the economy are allowed to be determined by market forces these imbalances will continue to recur.”

“Providing fuel subsidies also disincentives fuel efficiency. According to World Bank estimates the top 30% of society consume an overwhelming 70% of fuel sold in the country. There is little economic sense in channelling public funds to subsidise the relatively well-off segments of society. A direct cash transfer program targeted at vulnerable households requires far fewer funds and will address the needs of poorer segments of society. This will require a re-examination of the Samurdhi scheme.”

“Another key reform should include eliminating the barriers to entry to Sri Lanka’s energy sector. Enhancing competition by allowing more players to operate in the market is the only means of achieving both stable supply and stable prices in the long term.”

“Instead of continuing with the general subsidy, the government should consider introducing a market-driven pricing formula to determine prices at the pump. Immediate and urgent measures to bring about macroeconomic stabilisation needs to complement these reforms if the country is to come out of this difficult situation,” Advocata said.



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Sri Lanka’s economic confidence index plummets

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‘No one has rated Sri Lanka’s economic condition as excellent. 1.8 % rated it as good and 1.3 % rated it as getting better. The resulting score was a (-) 96. This rating was (-) 83 in January 2022, a wide ranging Verite Research public opinion survey reveals.

Key findings of the survey:

Government approval rating drops from 10% to 3%

The second round of the Gallup Style “Mood of the Nation” poll was conducted in June by Verité Research. It assessed the approval, satisfaction, and confidence of the nation in relation to the government, the country, and the economy.

The poll was conducted as a part of the syndicated survey instrument by Verité Research. This instrument also provides other organisations the opportunity to survey the sentiments of Sri Lanka.

1. Government approval rating | 3% | To the question, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way the current government is working?” only 3% said they approve. In January 2022 this rating was at 10%.

2. Sri Lanka satisfaction | 2% | To the question, “In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in Sri Lanka?” only 2% said they were satisfied. This rating was at 6% in January 2022.

3. Economic confidence | negative (-) 96 | Multiple choice questions on the condition and trajectory of the economy are used to generate an economic confidence score. The score can range from negative (-) 100 to positive (+) 100. A score above zero means more people see the economic conditions positively rather than negatively. If everyone thinks the economy is in either excellent or good condition, and everyone also thinks it is getting better, the score will be (+) 10. If everyone thinks that the economy is in a poor condition, and everyone also thinks it is getting worse, the score will be a (-) 100. No one rated the economic condition as excellent. 1.8% rated it as good; and 1.3% rated it as getting better. The resulting score was a (-) 96. This rating was (-) 83 in January 2022.

Implementation of “Mood of

the Nation”

The poll is based on an island wide nationally representative sample of responses from 1,052 Sri Lankan adults, conducted in June 2022. The sample and methodology was designed to ensure a maximum error margin of under 3% at a 95% confidence interval. The polling partner was Vanguard Survey (Pvt) Ltd.

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Decline in share market in the wake of rate hike reports

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

CSE trading activities began on a positive note yesterday but during the latter part of the day the market experienced a dip on account of the overall supply chain economy being subjected to a contraction, stemming from the fuel crisis. Consequently, CSE activities were relatively low keyed, market analysts said.

“We are reverting to the negative. There is uncertainty on all fronts, from the political to the economic. Therefore, we are expecting a rate hike on Thursday. This is creating a bit of a cloud and we may see this continuing further, a top market analyst said.

Even if top level decision- making is happening in Sri Lanka the impact is not felt at the grassroots level. This has resulted in unrest in the country, the analyst said.

Amid those developments, both indices moved downwards. The All- Share Price Index went down by 97.9 points and S and P SL20 declined by 34.3 points. Turnover stood at Rs 1.3 billion with one crossing. The crossing was reported in JKH, which crossed 600,000 shares to the tune of Rs 73.2 million, its shares traded at Rs 122.

In the retail market, the top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; Lanka IOC Rs 611 million (7.3 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 173.9 million (one million shares traded). LOLC Holdings Rs 47.4 million (120,000 sha4es traded), Hayleys PLC Rs 46.5 million (697.000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 46.3 million (6.4 million shares traded), JKH Rs 21 million (173,000 shares traded) and Softlogic Holdings Rs 20.5 million (794,000 shares traded). During the day 109 million share volumes changed hands in 15000 transactions.

The International Monetary Fund said last Thursday its talks with crisis-hit Sri Lanka had been “constructive”, thereby raising hopes it would soon grant preliminary approval for a desperately needed financial support package, observers said.

Meanwhile, the Colombo Consumer Price index rose 54.6 per cent year-on-year in June against a 39.1 per cent rise in May, according to the Statistics Department.

Yesterday the US dollar rate was Rs 360.73, which is now being controlled due to the prudent fiscal and monetary policies of the Central Bank.

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Dialog Club vision members receive access to an exclusive screening of ‘Jurassic World Dominion’

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In a bold and breath-taking new global adventure, the epic conclusion to the Jurassic film franchise ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ hit theatres across the world on June 10. Just a day after its global premiere, Dialog Club Vision Red members and their loved ones received special access to an exclusive screening of the film at the Kandy City Centre Multiplex on June 11.

The explosive end to the Jurassic era sees two generations of the film’s franchise unite for the first time with Hollywood’s Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard joined by Oscar winner Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill. Dialog Club Vision members were some of the first to witness the utopian world where Dinosaurs and humans co-exist.

With the best interests of its members and their loved ones at heart, Dialog Club Vision continues to deliver a world of exclusivity and privileges such as personalized care, exclusive discounts and offers, lifestyle and entertainment events and more. To explore more exciting offers available for Dialog Club Vision members, and to learn more about Sri Lanka’s premier loyalty programme, customers can visit the MyDialog App or visit dialog.lk/club-vision

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