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Trade deficit narrows in August 2020

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According to the latest external trade data released by the Central Bank, country’s trade deficit narrowed in August 2020, as import prices declined at a faster pace than the decline in export prices.

Sri Lanka’s external sector continued to recover in relation to many aspects during August 2020, mainly supported by an improved trade deficit and a notable increase in workers’ remittances.

The trade deficit improved on a year-on-year basis, with the reduction in merchandise imports due to regulatory restrictions on the importation of non-essential goods and lower crude oil prices, despite earnings from merchandise exports recording a year-on-year decline during the month.

Nevertheless, the export performance remained strong for the third consecutive month in spite of the pandemic affected global demand.

The deficit in the trade account in August 2020 narrowed to US$ 342 million from US$ 541 million in August 2019, as imports declined at a faster pace than the decline in exports.

Also, on a cumulative basis, the trade deficit narrowed by over US$ 1 billion to US$ 3,812 million during the period from January to August 2020 from US$ 4,855 million in the corresponding period of 2019.

Meanwhile, terms of trade, i.e., the ratio of the price of exports to the price of imports, improved by 4.6% (year-on-year) in August 2020 as import prices declined at a faster pace than the decline in export prices

Although export performance remained robust considering the current global market conditions, earnings from merchandise exports declined both on a year-on-year basis as well as on a month-on-month basis in August 2020. Accordingly, merchandise exports declined to US dollars 947 million in August 2020 compared to US dollars 1,033 million recorded in August 2019 and US dollars 1,085 million recorded in July 2020. The year-on-year decline emanated from declines recorded in earnings from all three major categories of exports, namely, industrial, agricultural, and mineral exports.

The export volume index improved by 3.2 per cent, on a year-on-year basis, while the unit value index deteriorated by 11.2 per cent, on a year-on-year basis, in August 2020, indicating that the year-on-year decline in earnings from exports was, on average, driven by lower export prices.

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Business

New look Chagall opens at Park Street

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Chagall opened its doors at Parkland on Park Street Colombo 2 , with Gerald Solomons, personally welcoming all his clients and the media to the brand new Chagall. 

Gerald who established Chagall as Sri Lanka’s most elite and fashionable salon, despite the prevailing situation with the pandemic and the existing restrictions, displayed his usual flair and panache, greeting everyone with the socially correct ‘ayubowan’ and ensuring that each and everyone present was made to feel special and welcome.Continuing the bold colour scheme of red, black and white, Gerald like his muse Marc Chagall, has a wide range of styles that can cater to an eclectic clientele.

The artist Chagall saw his work as “not the dream of one people but of all humanity”; similarly Gerald through his salon Chagall would like to transform each and every person who walks in through his door, so that they leave transformed, with a new confidence in themselves and their appearance.

Mrs World Caroline Jurie, clients and well wishers, keeping in mind health guidelines made their way to Chagall at Parkland on October 20 where Gerald and his team reaffirmed their commitment to their clients and the beauty industry, to continue upholding the highest standards and maintain all safety measures and health protocols.

Having established himself and Chagall as the hairdresser / stylist and salon of the elite, Gerald’s doors are open to anyone who wants to look good and different to those around them. ” Our doors are open to everyone who wants to look good, who wants to make a statement and who dares to bedifferent” said Gerald .Manicures, pedicures, long and short hair cuts and styles, make up, facials,bridal dressing, sari drapes and the whole gamut of services will beavailable, all in brand new surroundings.All staff have undergone intensive refresher courses with Gerald beinginvolved in their training himself. 

Known for his cool demeanor and eclectic style, Gerald started hairdressing at the age of 15 having left school, determined to make an impression in the world of hair, beauty and style! He joined  Moira Muthukrishna where hiscareer in hair dressing began and today he is a living legend. Chagall was set up in New Zealand where Gerald lived for over 20 years and then moved back to Sydney where Chagall continued. Gerald has also worked in Hawaii, Australia and London.Chagall.

 

 

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CSE indices pick up as trading yields Rs. 1.09 billion

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The  stock market on Monday suffered a near 2 percent  decline as investors reacted negatively to the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases in the second wave. Moreover, current investor favourite counters,  Tokyo Cement and Expolanka shares, also slightly declined in trading due to the current situation, market analysts said Amid those developments, both indices moved upwards yesterday. The the All Share Price Index rose by  15.74 points  and the S&P SL 20 Index was up by 8.73 points. The market managed to post Rs. 1.09 billion, safeguarding its track record of over a billion plus turnover for more than a month. But no crossings were reported during the day. 

In the retail market, top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were: Tokyo Cement (Non Voting) Rs. 160 million (3.2 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 187.6 million (7.8 million shares traded), HNB Rs. 99.8 million (881,000 shares traded), Tokyo (Voting) Rs. 86.7 million (1.47 million shares traded) and Dialog Rs. 69.5 million (6.34 million shares traded). During the day  55.3 million share volumes changed hands in 12620 transactions yesterday.

The market also lost Rs. 44 billion in value with blue chips JKH, Carsons, Ceylon Tobacco, Bukit and Distilleries as major contributors to the ASPI’s dip on the previous day.  Some analysts linked the lacklustre trading and sentiment to the quarantine curfew imposed in Fort and Pettah which caused a shutdown of offices and businesses in the area. 

 

 

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Initiative to support startups in Sri Lanka

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Microsoft for Startups recently launched the Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative in Asia Pacific to strengthen the region’s startup ecosystem. This follows the initiative’s success in India, where only 56 startups were selected to the Emerge X program from six states, which have over 15000+ startups. The Emerge X winners have greatly benefited with global market access support, a 3-day founder bootcamp with world class mentors, access to funding, ongoing mentorship, and guidance on Azure, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more.

Innovation is critical to unlocking inclusive economic growth in Asia Pacific; high income economies in the region invest three times more in research and development as compared to their peers. To spur innovative entrepreneurship, Microsoft will work closely with governments and industry partners to discover and nurture technology startups with a high potential to become truly global enterprises in the future.

“At Microsoft, we are working to build up a more supportive ecosystem for startups in Sri Lanka,” said Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives. “Startups play a vital role in our economy as innovators, disruptors and first-movers. Sri Lanka needs more entrepreneurial development to fuel economic growth. Through Highway to a 100 Unicorns, we will enable startups in Sri Lanka to drive digital innovation in the region. We look forward to walking with founders along their growth journey and supporting them to scale and achieve more.”

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