Broader economic conditions ‘ remain challenging’ amid expected contraction of economy Near-term ‘downside risks’ to credit profiles from spill-over effects of remainder of DDO ‘Uncertainties’ prevail over the completion of foreign-currency sovereign debt restructuring
Sri Lanka bank ratings are unaffected by the downgrade of Sri Lanka’s Long-Term Local-Currency Issuer Default Rating to ‘RD’ from ‘C’, says Fitch Ratings.On 14 September 2023, Fitch downgraded the sovereign’s Long-Term Local Currency Issuer Default Rating following the completion of an exchange of treasury bonds for longer-dated ones, which forms a part of the broader domestic debt optimisation program. The exchange of treasury bills held by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has yet to be completed.
“We do not believe the completion of the first phase of the restructuring of the sovereign’s local-currency obligations is likely to trigger a loss of depositor confidence in the banking system, leading to a widespread default within the financial system, including for non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs). Therefore, we expect the banks to continue to service their local-currency obligations, given their better funding and liquidity profiles relative to that of the sovereign”, Fitch says.
Fitch continues to maintain the Rating Watch Negative (RWN) on Sri Lanka banks and NBFI’s ratings to reflect the potential for deterioration in their creditworthiness relative to other entities on the Sri Lankan national ratings scale.
This reflects near-term downside risks to credit profiles from spill-over effects from the remainder of the sovereign’s debt restructuring, while access to wholesale foreign-currency funding remains constrained. Further clarity around the sovereign debt restructuring process, particularly on the foreign-currency debt, that points to a reduction in stresses that have affected the banking sector in the past several quarters, would result in a resolution of the RWN with affirmation of the bank ratings.
While the local banks have been spared from the rupee debt restructuring, we believe that the broader economic conditions remain challenging as reflected in the expected contraction of the economy and high volatility of economic variables. This may still place downward pressure on individual credit profiles, particularly for NBFIs, which tend to be more exposed to cyclically sensitive segments. We believe that the re-assessment of the sovereign credit profile following the completion of the debt exchange with CBSL will influence the ratings of the banks and NBFIs, given the high interconnectedness.
While the domestic debt optimisation programme is nearing completion, uncertainties prevail over the completion of the foreign-currency sovereign debt restructuring. Any doubts over this could weigh on the banking sector with spillover effects to the NBFIs, given the banks’ exposure to defaulted foreign currency sovereign bonds, albeit they make up a small share of sector assets (3.6% of assets at end-1H23).
Opposition law makers’ critical comments check CSE’s morning momentum
By Hiran H. Senewiratne
The stock market yesterday kicked- off on a positive note during the first session but the momentum did not sustain due to opposition law makers’ negative remarks on the current negotiation process with external creditors, market analysts said.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe had discussed debt restructuring and economic reforms with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, a President’s media division statement said.
“In their discussion, they focused on the ongoing reforms in the financial sector and the significant advancements in debt restructuring efforts, the statement said.
Amid those developments, both indices moved downwards. The All- Share Price Index went down by 71.76 points while the S and P SL20 declined by 14 points. Turnover stood at Rs 1.19 billion with four crossings.
Those crossings were reported in Windforce, which crossed 11 million shares to the tune of Rs 209 million; its shares traded at Rs 90, RIL Properties 20 million shares crossed for Rs 130 million and its shares traded at Rs 6.50, Hayleys Fabrics 500,000 shares crossed to the tune of Rs 23.1 million and its shares fetched Rs 46.20 and Laugfs 630,000 shares crossed for Rs 22 million; its shares traded at Rs 35.
In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; JKH Rs 180 million (970,000 shares traded), CIC Holdings Rs 51.5 million (686,000 shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 47.6 million (415,000 shares traded), Capital Alliance Rs 37.4 million (491,000 shares traded), HNB Rs 35.6 million (210,000 shares traded), Aitken Spence Hotels Rs 32.8 million (411,000 shares traded) and Softlogic Capital Rs 23.3 million (1.9 million shares traded). During the day 61.4 million share value changed hands in 9000 transactions.
Yesterday, the rupee opened at Rs 325/15 to the US dollar after closing the previous day at Rs 324.75/325.00 to the US dollar, dealers said.
Bond yields were up. A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 was quoted up at 14.80/15.20 percent from 14.50/70.A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 was quoted up at 14.60/15.20 percent from 14.35/50 percent. A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 was quoted up at 14.10/50 from 13.70/14.00 percent.
Robocash Sri Lanka’s ESG commitment shines on International Coastal Cleanup Day at Dehiwala Beach
Robocash Sri Lanka marked International Coastal Cleanup Day by furthering its “Robocash EcoSplash: Beach Cleanup and Beyond” initiative, which took place on September 17th, at Dehiwala Beach, Sri Lanka.
This environmentally-conscious initiative was a testament to the company’s unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability, community engagement, and responsible corporate citizenship, all of which are in alignment with the Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) principles.
ESG gained significant prominence in recent years as a guiding framework for responsible investment. It takes into account a company’s environmental impact, social responsibility, and governance practices, aligning them with the broader goals of sustainability and societal well-being. Robocash Sri Lanka recognizes the critical importance of ESG values in today’s world and is dedicated to integrating them into its operations and initiatives.
The “Robocash EcoSplash: Beach Cleanup and Beyond” program was a collaborative effort with the company’s internal team, showcasing the dedication of Robocash Sri Lanka’s employees to make a positive impact on their local environment and community.
Konstantin Bereutsyn, Country Manager of Robocash Sri Lanka, addressed the team at the event, saying, “Our commitment to environmental sustainability and community engagement goes beyond business as usual. We believe that being a responsible corporate citizen involves actively participating in initiatives that benefit society and the environment. This beach cleanup event is just one of the many ways we intend to contribute to a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable future for Sri Lanka.”
The program ensured that all necessary permits and permissions for the beach-cleaning activity were obtained, and strict adherence to government health guidelines was maintained throughout the event to prioritize the safety and well-being of all participants.
Ceylinco Life opens up the world once again for policyholders with ‘Family Savari 17’
The world is opening up once again for Ceylinco Life policyholders with the return of overseas holidays for the family as the main loyalty reward under the life insurance market leader’s ‘Family Savari’ mega promotion, the largest initiative of its kind in the local life insurance sector.
The 17th edition of Family Savari announced this week will provide overseas holidays for 15 policyholder families in 2024 – to Türkiye for five families and to Malaysia for another 10 families – reverting to the original theme of the promotion.
Another 250 policyholder families comprising of 1,000 people will get to spend a fun-filled day at the Pearl Bay Water Park at Bandaragama, a new location for the local segment of the Family Savari.
“The Family Savari promotion has always been about the importance of quality family time and creating memories of a lifetime for our policyholders and their loved ones,” Ceylinco Life’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer Mr Samitha Hemachandra said. “Unfortunately, the pandemic made overseas travel inadvisable, but we are now delighted to be able to reward our loyal policyholders and their families with holidays to some of the world’s most popular destinations.”
With the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Ceylinco Life’s Family Savari opted to reward winners initially with gold instead of the overseas holidays and local excursions, and subsequently with cash rewards to the full value of the prize purse, and thereafter with family vacations in leading local hotels as health concerns began to ease.
At this year’s Family Savari promotion, a total of 265 policyholders will be selected at two draws that will take place in November 2023 and January 2024 to reward them and their family members, numbering 1,060 people in all, for their loyalty to Ceylinco Life. The mega promotion has to date rewarded more than 35,000 people in this manner.
To be eligible to win overseas holidays or the local excursion at the Family Savari draws, Ceylinco Life policyholders are simply required to continue their existing policies with the Company or maintain a minimum account balance in their retirement plans during the promotion period, 1st September to 31st December 2023.
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