NCPI based headline inflation (Y-o-Y) increased to 70.2 per cent in August 2022 from 66.7 per cent in July 2022 due to increases of prices of items in both Food and Non-food categories. Meanwhile, Food inflation (Y-o-Y) and Non-food inflation (Y-o-Y) recorded at 84.6 per cent and 57.1 per cent, respectively, in August 2022.
Furthermore, the NCPI measured on an annual average basis, increased to 31.3 per cent in August 2022 from 25.9 per cent in July 2022 .During the period under review (17.09.2022 to 23.09.2022) crude oil prices were largely on a declining trend. At the beginning of the period, prices declined due to the US Fed rate hike, strengthening of dollar and subdued outlook for global economic growth. However, prices edged upwards slightly towards the end of the week as the market focused on Russian oil supply concerns, rebounding Chinese demand, and as the Bank of England hiked interest rates at a slower pace than expected.
Overall, during the period under review, Brent and WTI prices decreased by US dollars 1.68 per barrel and US dollars 2.22 per barrel, respectively.Weekly AWPR for the week ending 23rd September 2022 increased by 138 bps to 26.89 per cent compared to the previous week.
The reserve money decreased compared to the previous week mainly due to decrease in the deposits held by the commercial banks with the Central Bank and decrease in the currency in circulation.The total outstanding market liquidity was a deficit of Rs. 569.85 bn by the end of this week, compared to a deficit of Rs.556.58 bn by the end of last week.By 23rd September 2022, the All Share Price Index (ASPI) decreased by 0.96 per cent to 9,964.80 points and the S&P SL 20 Index decreased by 1.06 per cent to 3,203.01 points, compared to the index values of last week.
During the year up to 23rd September 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 39.8 per cent, the Euro by 36.4 per cent, the pound sterling by 33.7 per cent and the Japanese yen by 31.8 per cent during this period.
Tea industry targets USD 1.2 bn export turnover in 2023
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.
Harin urges for ‘breathing space’ to revive tourism
Minister of Tourism and Lands Harin Fernando said on Saturday that persistent political agitations make his job of promoting Sri Lanka as a safe and convenient tourist destination extremely difficult.
“Now the country has restarted to function although not at a comfortable level to everyone. People undergo many economic difficulties due to high cost of living. These issues need to be addressed and resolved one by one. Creating troubles constantly in a highly political way won’t help the country to come out of the crisis. It will only prolong the crisis.
As Minister of Tourism, I have a hard time promoting tourism in Sri Lanka because it is no easy task to convince potential overseas visitors that the situation is back to normal. So, I appeal to these parties to allow at least six months for the country resuscitate whose breathing had stopped for some time,” he said.
UTECH Technologies recognised at Sahasak Nimavum Innovation Awards
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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