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Rupee value of total outstanding foreign debt amounted to Rs. 11,529 bn by end May 2022

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By end May 2022, total outstanding domestic debt amounted to Rs. 12,522.1bn while the rupee value of total outstanding foreign debt amounted to Rs. 11,529.2 bn, according to Weekly Economic Indicators report of the Central Bank.Meanwhile, outstanding central government debt increased to Rs. 24,051.4 bn by end May 2022 from Rs. 17,589.4 bn as at end 2021.

The reserve money increased compared to the previous week mainly due to increase in the deposits held by the commercial banks with the Central Bank.The total outstanding market liquidity was a deficit of Rs. 515.506 bn by the end of this week, compared to a deficit of Rs. 517.43 bn by the end of last week.

The report further said: IIP in August 2022 decreased by 14.3 per cent to 90.5 compared to August 2021. Among the major sub divisions of the manufacturing industries, “coke and refined petroleum products” (72.4 per cent) and “Food products” (12.5 per cent) have mainly contributed to this overall decrease.

During the period under review (08.10.2022 to 14.10.2022) crude oil prices showed a decreasing trend. At the beginning of the period, prices decreased due to growing risks of global recession and the resumption of COVID-19 containment measures in China. However, prices increased towards the end of the week on concerns surrounding OPEC+’s substantial supply cut last week. Overall, during the period under review, Brent and WTI prices decreased by US dollars 2.09 per barrel and US dollars 2.42 per barrel, respectively.

Weekly AWPR for the week ending 14th October 2022 increased by 203 bps to 28.73 per cent compared to the previous week.By 14th October 2022, the All Share Price Index (ASPI) increased by 0.48 per cent to 9,093.37 points and the S&P SL 20 Index increased by 0.39 per cent to 2,782.73 points, compared to the index values of last week.

During the year up to 14th October 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 39.0 per cent, the Euro by 36.2 per cent, the pound sterling by 34.3 per cent and the Japanese yen by 29.4 per cent during this period.



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Tea industry targets USD 1.2 bn export turnover in 2023

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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.

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Harin urges for ‘breathing space’ to revive tourism

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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.

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UTECH Technologies recognised at Sahasak Nimavum Innovation Awards

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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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