Connect with us

Business

Relief package supports Sri Lanka’s economic recovery but compounds government’s fiscal challenge, says Moody’s

Published

on

On 3 January, Sri Lanka’s government announced a fiscal relief package worth LKR229 billion ($1 billion, 1.6% of our 2022 GDP forecast) to support the economy and alleviate the impact of higher consumer prices on low-income households.

While the size of the package is moderate and will be fully funded via reallocations from the budget (6% of budget expenditure in 2022), it reduces the scope for fiscal and debt consolidation at a time when fiscal flexibility is already severely limited by the large share of interest payments in government revenue (60-70%).

Funding the package with reallocations from the budget in part reflects this limited fiscal space, which constrains the government’s ability to use fiscal policy to mitigate the impact of economic shocks.

Furthermore, the risk of fiscal slippage has increased with the emergence of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. Some countries have tightened activity and travel restrictions, and any reintroduction of measures domestically or a delay in the recovery of Sri Lanka’s tourism sector would intensify fiscal and external pressures.

Key features of the relief package include cash handouts of LKR1,000 to citizens receiving income support, agricultural subsidies, the removal of certain taxes on food and medicine and an increase in public-sector salaries (LKR5,000 a month from January). Such measures would support domestic demand and the economic recovery as surging prices – particularly for food – stemming from global supply chain-related disruptions and some import restrictions over 2020-21 reduce the purchasing power of households. Consumer price inflation rose to 8.3% year-over-year in October 2021 and accelerated to more than 11% in November, with food prices surging by 17%

We expect inflation-adjusted real GDP growth to pick up to around 5% in 2022 from around 4-5% in 2021, in part because of a lower base and because domestic economic activity has largely normalised, with international borders open to vaccinated tourists since October 2021. However, risks remain as the new omicron variant of the coronavirus could delay such a recovery, and several countries have reversed their easing of travel restrictions. Should such risks materialise, the recovery in government revenue would likely be delayed beyond our assumptions, with fiscal and debt metrics remaining very weak for longer.

We forecast that the fiscal deficit will narrow only slightly to around 9-10% of GDP in 2022 from around 11% in 2021, mainly reflecting our expectation for lower revenue growth than the budget envisages. Wide deficits will keep the government’s debt burden at higher levels for some time; we estimate that the debt burden will rise to around 108% of GDP by the end of 2022 from around 101% at the end of 2020 and 87% at the end of 2019, before stabilising at the elevated 2022 level thereafter, mainly reflecting the recovery in nominal GDP growth. Such levels are significantly above the Caa median and much higher than the government’s medium-term target of around 75% in 2025n addition, a delay in the recovery of tourism receipts would weigh on Sri Lanka’s precarious external liquidity position.

As of November 2021, the country had $1 billion in foreign-exchange reserves (which in our definition excludes gold and Special Drawing Rights), covering less than one month of imports. While the central bank indicated that reserves had risen as of the end of December with the disbursement of a $1.5 billion swap agreement with the People’s Bank of China, reserves adequacy remains very weak, with reserves at around $2-3 billion compared with $5-6 billion of foreign-currency obligations due annually through at least 2025.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

Cavinkare Lanka unveils Meera Facewash – unique combination of natural actives

Published

on

FMCG Major’s latest product for the Sri Lankan market, Meera Facewash was unveiled in an official event at Colombo. Celebrating the young contemporary Sri Lankan woman, Meera facewash will be introduced in three different variants providing functional solutions to everyday skincare problems – Red Sandal (for soft skin), Neem & Tea Tree (for pimple clear skin) and Wild Turmeric (for clear skin).

Meera facewash is a range of formulation that is Soap-free, Sulphate free, Paraben free and is milder on the skin. It has a unique combination of Natural actives mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic textbooks. It includes a very special product which is Salicyclic acid- free acne treatment facewash. It helps to remove 99.9% of acne causing bacteria using prebiotic technology.

Meera facewash is aimed at modern young women of Sri Lanka who hold a strong belief in traditional practices & natural ingredients. Today young women are well read, understand the importance of healthy skin and have a holistic view of how healthy skin is beautiful skin. It comes out from the confidence of understanding scientific literature that supports these natural ingredients rather than following it naively.

Virtually connecting at the event, Arun Chacko, Business Head of Personal care category (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & Nepal) said, “With the Launch of Meera Face Wash today, we add to the hugely successful Meera portfolio of shampoos. With this, we intend to enhance the Richness of Tradition that Meera as a brand has been offering to the Sri Lankan Populace over the years. We are sure that the variants, would endear to the needs of Sri Lanka. We promise to bring more such exciting products to cater to the consumers.”

Continue Reading

Business

All-time record prices for two estates

Published

on

Halpewatte Uva Estate located in Bandarawela, which is renowned for producing high quality, light liquoring bright orthodox teas established an all-time record price of Rs.1,000 per kg on a liquoring BOPSP grade in the Uva Medium Category at the tea auction held on 18th January 2022. This invoice of tea was purchased by Shan Teas (Pvt) Ltd.Halpewatte Uva Estate is managed by Halpewatte Estate (Pvt) Ltd, and the teas were marketed and sold by John Keells PLC.

Venture Estate located in Bogawantalawa which is renowned for producing high quality orthodox teas over the past years, established an all-time record price, of Rs 1,060 per kg on a liquoring FBOPF1 grade in the Western High Grown Category at this week’s tea auction held on 18th January 2022. This line of tea was purchased by Inter Tea (Pvt) Ltd. Venture Estate is managed by Madulsima Plantations PLC and the teas were marketed and sold by John Keells PLC.

Continue Reading

Business

HNB-Indra Traders offer exclusive leasing solutions for unregistered vehicles, freezers and pre-owned vehicles

Published

on

Sri Lanka’s leading private sector bank, HNB PLC, partnered with local automotive giant Indra Traders to provide customers with exclusive leasing solutions for unregistered and pre-owned vehicles and freezers.

Customers can make use of exciting benefits and discounts during the promotional period from January to December 2022. HNB Executive Director Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo and Indra Traders Managing Director Rushanka Silva participated in the special ceremony to sign the MoU at HNB Towers.

“Given the import restrictions, the market for unregistered and pre-owned vehicles has grown exponentially. Each year we offer our loyal customers the very best deals in the market. As such, we have renewed our partnership with Indra traders, renowned for its incomparable service, to offer those looking for vehicles with access to exceptional after-sales services and great discounts,” HNB Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo said.

HNB will offer the prevailing interest rate for structured leases and lease facilities with a 25% residual value market value under the partnership. Customers also have access to special discounts on automobile products, servicing, spare parts, tyres, and batteries via the Prestige Prime card, with the annual fee waived off the first year.

“We are delighted to partner with HNB once again to offer our mutual customer base exciting leasing solutions and great benefits. Our continued partnership with the Bank has proven to be very beneficial to our customers, and we hope they will make use of this opportunity once again to invest in their own set of wheels,” Indra Traders Managing Director Rushanka Silva said.

Indra Traders will provide customers looking to purchase unregistered cars, vans and freezers with free insurance from SLIC for the first year. HNB customers are also eligible for discounts of up to 10% for spare parts from Indra Motor Spares and labour charges from Indra Service Park for the first year.

Customers investing in a new or unregistered passenger vehicles are eligible to have their vehicles outfitted with a free entertainment system and reverse camera. Indra Traders will also offer customers a two-year warranty for engines and gearboxes and a three-year warranty for hybrid batteries.

Notably, the company will provide free labour for services up to one year and a maximum of six services for pre-owned vehicles. A six-month warranty will also be offered for the engines and gearboxes of these vehicles.

Established in 1975, Indra Traders has diversified to various business segments in the automobile industry. A supplier of high-quality motor vehicles and related vehicles, Indra Traders today stands as not only a supplier of high-quality vehicles but also a transport solutions provider.

With 254 customer centres across the country, HNB is one of Sri Lanka’s largest, most technologically-innovative banks, having won local and global recognition for its efforts to drive forward a new paradigm in digital banking. HNB has a national rating of AA- (lka) by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd. The Bank was also ranked among the World Top 1,000 Banks list compiled by the prestigious UK-based Banker Magazine for five consecutive years. HNB was also declared Best Sub-Custodian Bank in Sri Lanka at the Global Finance Awards 2020.

Continue Reading

Trending