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Money circulating in the economy expanded by 15.4 per cent



Credit to govt from banking system increased by Rs. 151.2 bn

Broad money (M2b) has expanded by 15.4 per cent, on a Y-o-Y basis, in November 2021, according to the Weekly Economic Indicators issued by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

“Net Credit to the government from the banking system increased by Rs. 151.2 bn in November 2021,” it said.

According to the report, the unemployment rate increased slightly to 5.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2021 from 5.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2021.

The report also showed that labour force participation rate (LFPR) decreased to 49.5 per cent in the third quarter of 2021 from 49.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, outstanding credit to public corporations had decreased by Rs. 9.0 bn in November 2021.

Outstanding credit extended to the private sector had increased by Rs. 60.5 bn in November 2021.

The report further stated,” The reserve money decreased compared to the previous week mainly due to the decrease in deposits held by the commercial banks with the Central Bank.’

“The total outstanding market liquidity was a deficit of Rs. 466.248 bn by end of this week, compared to a deficit of Rs. 455.549 bn by the end of last week.”

“By 31st December 2021, the All Share Price Index (ASPI) increased by 1.29 per cent to 12,226.01 points and the S&P SL 20 Index decreased by 0.48 per cent to 4,233.25 points, compared to the index values of last week.”

“During the year up to 31st December 2021, the Sri Lankan rupee depreciated against the US dollar by 7.0 per cent. Given the cross currency exchange rate movements, the Sri Lankan rupee appreciated against the Japanese yen by 3.8 per cent and the Euro by 1.1 per cent while depreciating against the pound sterling by 6.0 per cent and the Indian rupee by 5.5 per cent during this period.”

The Central Bank last week announced that official reserves had reached over US dollars 3.1 billion.

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Seven factors of concern at upcoming Monetary Policy Review



by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is scheduled to announce its latest monetary policy review on 20th January 2022, with all eyes on dwindling foreign reserves and foreign currency exchange in the country.

In this context, First Capital Research has named 7 factors of concern that could be taken into account at the upcoming monetary policy review. They are as follows.

* Foreign Reserves USD 3.1 billion – Dec 2021

* Inflation CCPI 12.1% – Dec 2021

* GDP Growth -1.5% – 3Q2021

* Private Credit LKR 60.5 billion – Nov 2021

* 03M T-Bill rate 8.38% as at 12.01.22

Liquidity and CBSL Holdings LKR -364.0 billion and LKR 1.42 trillion

Balance of Trade (BOT) and Balance of Payment (BOP) USD -6.5 billion and USD -3.3 billion for Jan-Oct 21

First Capital Research’s Policy Rate Forecast – Jan 2022-Apr 2022 notes that they believe the CBSL may highly consider tightening the monetary policy rates in this policy review but given the concerns over economic growth, there is a probability of 40% for CBSL to maintain its policy stance at current levels.

“With high frequent indicators improving in line with expectations, we have eliminated any probability of a rate cut. We expect a continued increase in probability for a rate hike in order to prevent overheating of the economy amidst the given fiscal and monetary stimulus,” they said.

As per First Capital’s view, CBSL either can choose to hike policy rates by 50bps or 100bps or hold policy rates steady, while a rate cut is off the table due to the high debt repayment and the high domestic borrowing requirement.

First Capital believes that there is a 60% probability for a rate hike due to the remedial actions required in achieving external stability.

However, there is also a 40% probability to maintain the policy rates at its current level in order to further improve the high frequency indicators.30%, they noted.

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Sri Lanka’s dash brand enters international markets



Multichemi International Ltd, which manufactures and distributes a wide range of products under dash, one of Sri Lanka’s leading detergent and household care brands, has begun exporting its products to several international markets in Asia and Oceania, with plans also to enter Africa. The dash brand includes a wide range of products in car care, household care, home fragrances and laundry care sectors. Multichemi International Ltd, which has been awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification, is a Sri Lankan pioneer in environment-friendly cleaning products, having launched the country’s first biodegradable, safe cleaning products over 28 years ago.

Amila Wijesinghe, General Manager of the Company said,”Having conquered the domestic market, we are now ready to capture the international market. We are confident that our products which are of high quality will receive a good demand overseas as well. The feedback we have received so far from our overseas customers is extremely encouraging. We are dedicated to taking our products to the international market, to bring in foreign currency to the country and help uplift the economy”,

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Janaka Abeysinghe appointed SLT CEO



Sri Lanka Telecom PLC has announced the appointment of Janaka Abeysinghe as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from February 1, 2022.

The incumbent CEO Kiththi Perera will be overseas on leave for a period of two years to pursue higher studies, according to a stock market filing by the company.

Abeysinghe joined SLT in 1991. In his present role, he leads the enterprise and wholesale business of SLT that provides integrated voice and data solutions to enterprises, government institutions, domestic telco operators and global wholesale carriers.

In his career at SLT spanning 29 years, he has held a number of senior positions, including general manager Enterprise and International Sales and has extensive experience in the areas of Enterprise Digital Services, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Data Communications, Business Development, Domestic and International Switching Operations and Global Wholesale Voice & Data Business.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Kansas, USA and a BSc degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering with a First Class Honours from the University of Moratuwa.

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