Sri Lankan rupee pulls back from record low after cenbank intervention

Sri Lankan rupee pulls back from record low after cenbank intervention

Reuters – The Sri Lankan rupee hit a record low for an eighth straight session on Friday, but closed the session firmer following intervention by the central bank, market sources said. The central bank will intervene aggressively to curb excess volatility in the exchange rate, Senior Deputy Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe told Reuters. “We will not tolerate excess volatility that we have seen in the market during the last couple of days. We will intervene aggressively,” he said. The rupee fell to an all-time low of 169.00 per dollar before closing at 168.50/70, compared with Thursday’s close of 168.65/169.00. The previous record low was 168.70 per dollar hit on Thursday. Exporters expect the rupee to be under pressure due to continued importer dollar demand and less exporter dollar sales. The rupee has weakened 4.5 percent so far this month after a 1.2 percent drop last month, and has declined 9.9 percent so far this year. The dollar weakened against most of its rivals on Friday, barring the British currency, as stronger equity markets and rising bond yields fuelled a rush to buy riskier assets. The dollar index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of six major rivals, dipped 0.18 percent to 94.371. The dollar was 0.04 percent lower against the yen at 112.25, while the euro was 0.26 percent stronger against the greenback at $1.1700. An illiquid market for dollars, dollar buying by foreign banks to facilitate bond outflows and importer demand weighed on the currency, said the sources. Since last week, currency dealers have been refusing to speak to the media, citing instructions from the central bank. However, central bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said that he was unaware of any such move. The rupee will be under pressure due to year-end seasonal dollar demand from importers, dealers have said earlier. The currency has also been hurt by recent weakness in the Indian rupee. India is Sri Lanka’s biggest trading partner and the Indian rupee, which hit a record low on Tuesday, is Asia’s worst performing currency this year. Foreign investors sold government securities worth a net 8.8 billion rupees ($52.19 million) in the week ended Sept. 19, its highest weekly outflow since the week ended on Dec. 6. Sri Lanka has suffered a net outflow of 63.7 billion rupees in securities so far this year, central bank data showed.

Sri Lanka shares hit over 30-month closing low on rupee woes

Sri Lanka shares hit over 30-month closing low on rupee woes

Reuters – Sri Lankan shares dropped to their lowest close in more than 30 months on Friday as foreign investors sold banking stocks, while a weaker rupee dented investor sentiment as well. The Colombo stock index ended 0.29 percent weaker at 5,904.90, its lowest close since March 9, 2016. It lost 2.1 percent this week, its second straight weekly drop. “Today, the market came down on foreign selling in banking shares,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at broker First Capital Holdings, adding that the acceleration in the rupee’s depreciation was creating panic among investors. The rupee hit a record low for an eighth straight session despite the central bank’s intervention. It fell to an all-time low of 169.00 per dollar, weighed down by importer demand for the scarce U.S. currency. The rupee has weakened 4.5 percent so far this month after a 1.2 percent drop last month, and has declined 9.9 percent so far this year. Analysts said they expected a minor support for the stock market at 5,900 levels and a stronger support at 5,800 levels. Turnover was 977.7 million rupees ($5.80 million) on Friday, more than this year’s daily average of 796.3 million rupees. Foreign investors sold a net 359.9 million rupees worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 5.6 billion rupees worth of equities. Analysts said the fuel price hike also hurt investor confidence as it could hit corporate earnings. Fuel retailers raised gasoline and diesel prices in September for a third time in four months due to higher global oil prices and a weaker rupee. Investors are awaiting cues from the national budget in November. Shares of Sampath Bank Plc ended 2.5 percent weaker, Good Hope Plc fell 23 percent, Ceylon Tea Services Plc closed down 8 percent, and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc declined 1 percent.

Study UK Alumni Awards 2018 – global winners receive awards in London

Study UK Alumni Awards 2018 – global winners receive awards in London

The three global winners of the Study UK Alumni Awards 2018 were presented with their awards by the British Council’s CEO, Sir Ciarán Devane, at a celebratory lunch at the British Council’s headquarters in London. The three winners, from Colombia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines are visiting the UK to build their professional networks, expertise and respective careers in e-health, marine biology and filmmaking. Global winner of the Professional Achievement category 2018 is Asha de Vos, a marine biologist from Sri Lanka who is passionate about conserving the world’s oceans. Asha is the founder of Oceanswell, Sri Lanka’s first marine conservation research and education organisation. Asha studied marine biology and biosciences at the University of St Andrews and the University of Oxford. José Ignacio Valenzuela was awarded for Entrepreneurialism for his ground-breaking work in Health Informatics in Colombia and across Latin America. José Ignacio’s work is changing the way Spanish-speaking communities around the world can access the vital healthcare that they need. José Ignacio studied health informatics at City, University of London. The Social Impact award was awarded to Baby Ruth Villarama, an award-winning film maker from the Philippines. Baby Ruth’s films are generating national conversations and raising international awareness of modern day issues such as human trafficking and slavery. Baby Ruth studied film distribution and marketing at Birmingham City University, and is a Chevening Alumna. The winners’ UK visit coincides with the launch of the Study UK Alumni Awards 2019 – open to recent alumni of UK universities living in any country outside the UK. The Study UK Alumni Awards celebrate and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education and raise the international profile of UK alumni, their former universities, and the whole of UK education. Award winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their communities, industries and countries. Follow our global Alumni Awards on Study UK Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Photo caption: Global winner of the Professional Achievement category, Study UK Alumni Awards 2018, Asha de Vos (centre) receives her award from Sir Ciarán Devane, CEO, British Council (right)

MTD Walkers’ says they are aware of the Obligation to repay Debentures

MTD Walkers’ says they are aware of the Obligation to repay Debentures

In a disclosure to Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), MTD Walkers PLC said that they are aware of the obligation to repay the Type A Debentures in line with the obligations as per the debenture trust deed.

 

The disclosure was referring to a letter sent to them on 19th September 2018 at 6:20 pm. The disclosure also noted that Payment of Principal Amount and Interest of Debentures – KAPI-BD-30/09/18-CC2316-9.75 is maturing on 30th September 2018.

 

On Thursday the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) said that the trading of securities of MTD Walkers PLC has been halted, whilst reports noted that CSE had sought clarification from MTD Walkers PLC on debentures.

 

Recently MTD Walkers PLC was at the centre of controversy recently over as Jehan Amaratunga the Executive Deputy Chairman at MTD Walkers PLC faced allegations of securing a loan to the tune of billions whilst holding a position of Director at People’s Bank.

 

– Reporting by Devendra Francis

Sri Lanka cbank will intervene aggressively to curb rupee volatility – official

Sri Lanka cbank will intervene aggressively to curb rupee volatility – official

Reuters – Sri Lanka’s central bank will intervene aggressively to curb excess volatility in the rupee exchange rate, Senior Deputy Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe told Reuters on Friday. “We will not tolerate excess volatility that we have seen in the market during the last couple of days. We will intervene aggressively,” he told Reuters. The move comes after the rupee hit a record low for a seventh straight session on Thursday. It was trading at a near record low of 168.00/75 at 0412 GMT. 

Sri Lanka shares hit 30-month low on weak rupee, foreign selling

Sri Lanka shares hit 30-month low on weak rupee, foreign selling

Reuters – Sri Lankan shares dropped to their lowest close in 30 months on Thursday as foreign investors sold market heavyweight John Keells Holdings, while a weak rupee dented sentiment. The Colombo stock index ended 0.88 percent weaker at 5,922.18, its lowest close since March 9, 2016. It lost 1.4 percent last week, its first weekly drop in four. “Uncertainty in the rupee currency is having an impact on the local investor sentiment. It has created a significant negative sentiment,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at broker First Capital Holdings.

“We saw a bit of foreign selling pressure also. Big caps started to fall again and with that the overall market saw a significant decline.” Analyst said they expect a minor support at 5,900 levels, while stronger support at 5,800 levels. Turnover was 547.6 million rupees ($3.25 million) on Thursday, less than this year’s daily average of 795.3 million rupees. Foreign investors sold a net 137 million rupees worth of shares extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 5.2 billion rupees worth of equities. Earlier in the session, the Sri Lankan rupee dropped 0.6 percent and hit an all-time low of 168.15 per dollar, pulled down by importer demand for scarce U.S. currency, market sources said. Analysts said the fuel price hike also hurt investor confidence as it could hit corporate earnings. Fuel retailers raised gasoline and diesel prices in September for a third time in four months due to higher global oil prices and a weaker rupee. Investors are awaiting cues from the national budget in November. Shares of Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc, which touched its 30-month close during the trade, ended 3.4 percent weaker, Nestle Lanka Plc closed down 2.8 percent, Sampath Bank Plc ended 2.2 percent weaker, and Melstacorp Ltd closed 2.7 percent down.

Perceived Economic Opportunity PEO: Second Quarter 2018

Perceived Economic Opportunity PEO: Second Quarter 2018

This brief report of the Perceived Economic Opportunity (PEO) presents the analysis of a random survey carried out using a random sample of 400 men and women covering all districts in Sri Lanka on their expectations of economic prospects in the ensuing twelve months.   STATUS OF JOB PROSPECTS OR BUSINESS PERFORMANCE Analysis of the perceived economic opportunities in the months of April, May and June 2018 indicate that the expectations in terms of job prospects of people or developing the status of their business in the ensuing 12 months has reduced compared to the first quarter of year 2018. The same expectation showed a growing trend in the month of December 2017. The expectation showed a decrease in the first quarter 2018. Comparing to the month of March 2018, the expectation fell down in the month of April 2018 but increased sharply in the month of May 2018. However, the same showed a decreasing trend in the month of June 2018. In March, the inflation in the country stood at 2.8 percent and declined to 1.6 percent in the month of April. The inflation increased to 2.1 percent in the month of May and 2.5 percent in the month of June. Sri Lank recorded the highest foreign reserves, amounting to 9.9 billion US dollars in the duration of January to April, but the rupee depreciated by 3.1 percent against the US dollar during the same time period. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka said that the Sri Lankan rupee continued to weaken in May and June due to the strength of US dollar in the international market. Sri Lanka’s external sector displayed a mixed performance in June 2018. Even though the lowest trade deficit so far during the year in absolute terms was recorded in the month of June, the trade deficit widened significantly in comparison to June 2017 as the growth in import expenditure outpaced the increase in export earnings. Earnings from tourism increased notably in June 2018 continuing the growth momentum observed since the beginning of the year, although workers’ remittances declined during the month in comparison to June 2017. In addition, loans to private sector by commercial banks slowed down during this period and as a result the money expansion weakened. The below graph shows the change of expectations in terms of job prospects of people, or development of the status of their business, in the ensuing 12 months. Refer the graph 01 below;     ABILITY TO SAVE According to the analysis in the months of April, May and June 2018, the expectation among the people to save a little more from their personal earnings in the ensuing 12 months has decreased compared to the first quarter of year 2018.  The graph shows that the expectation has dropped significantly from the month of April 2018.  Please Refer the Graph 02;     EXPECTATION FOR REDUCTION OF CORRUPTION The expectation for reduction of corruption in the country showed a significant positive trend in the first quarter 2018. However, the same expectation declined in the Second quarter of 2018 (April, May, June). Please Refer the Graph 03;   PEO; Perceived Economic Opportunity is developed and surveyed by the Foundation for Economic Freedom in Sri Lanka. PepperCube Consultants carry out field research covering the entire country.

CA Sri Lanka IT Forum emphasizes the need for organisations to go digital if they are to remain successful

CA Sri Lanka IT Forum emphasizes the need for organisations to go digital if they are to remain successful

The need for businesses to embrace digital transformation was highlighted at a recent forum organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) where experts emphasized that changing with futuristic trends were important if an organisation is to continue to be profitable and successful.   Speaking at an evening forum organised by the Institute, Mr. Wasantha Weerakoone, Chief Operating Officer of Sanje (Pvt) Ltd noted that digital transformation helps organisations become efficient. “It’s like giving a dose of steroids to a business and helping it progress to the next level,” he told CXOs, IT and finance professionals.   Mr. Weerakoone said that the current fourth industrial revolution is going to create many new opportunities for organisations and people and there will be new businesses born while some businesses will die. “Digital transformation is not just about document management, or converting papers into digital, but it is converting everything that affects us – our business and our customers – it’s the whole chain.”   He said that today we are in an era where instead of manually switching off a light, we have the ability to do it automatically.  Therefore, he said, this is why it is important even for organisations to look at automation, than only depending on manual processes. “We have cloud, automation and robotic process as well as artificial intelligence, block chain and cognitive computing, all which are in the forefront of today’s technological transformation which we can take advantage of,” Mr. Weerakoone   He said that winning is not just about becoming number one but instead adapting with trends and remaining relevant. “Winning is about fulfilling the fundamental digital transformation strategy where you can create value for everyone in the organisation and create satisfaction at every level, and ensure that the business can continue in the event of even a disaster,” he added.   Chairman of the CA Sri Lanka IT Faculty Mr. Wasaba Jayasekera noted that his faculty has decided to conduct a series of programmes especially catering to the benefit of the institute’s young members. “We conducted a survey and we found that there are certain gaps in the industry and with our members, therefore we have taken steps to revive our programmes and go beyond the traditional delivery methods,” he said.   He added that the institute’s ultimate aim is to transform Chartered Accountants into Digital Chartered Accountants.   The forum concluded following a panel discussion featuring Mr. Tishan Subasinghe, Partner -Moore Stephens Aiyar, Mr. Nandika Budhdhipala, Chief Financial Officer – Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, which was moderated by Mr. Jayanath Jayawardena Herath, Member of the CA Sri Lanka IT Faculty.   CAPTIONS: 5757: Mr. Wasantha Weerakoone, Chief Operating Officer of Sanje (Pvt) Ltd addressing the event. 5758: Mr. Wasaba Jayasekara, Chairman of the CA Sri Lanka IT Faculty delivering the welcome speech. 5759: From Left to Right: Mr. Jayanath Herath, Member of the IT Faculty, Mr. Wasantha Weerakoon, Mr. Tishan Subasinghe, Partner at Moore Stephens Aiyar and Mr. Nandika Budhdhipala, CFO of the Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC at the panel discussion.

SriLankan Airlines makes progressive changes to its Winter 2018 schedule

SriLankan Airlines makes progressive changes to its Winter 2018 schedule

In keeping with its strategy of optimizing and rationalizing market opportunities throughout its route network, SriLankan Airlines will be introducing a range of significant changes to its winter schedule.   Accordingly, the National Carrier will be deploying state-of-the-art A330-300 aircraft on its daily Melbourne operations from October 28, 2018. The Airline is pleased to offer its passengers an unmatchable travel experience, with its elegant cabin ambience completed with mood lighting and entertainment featuring over 100 movies, live news and weather updates. With Wi-Fi connectivity available on-board, passengers also have the luxury of staying connected; making calls or sending mails and browsing.   The Airline is also expanding its capacity on the Colombo-Singapore-Colombo route from October 29, 2018 with the introduction of wide bodied Airbus A330 aircraft that are equipped to provide modern inflight comforts with the latest inflight entertainment systems, luxurious seating and on-board cuisine that is among the finest in the sky. The Airlines’ weekly frequencies will be increased to 21 flights per week from the current schedule of 17 flights per week. Out of this, 7 flights will be operated by A 330-300 aircraft, while the remaining 14 frequencies will be operated by A 320/ A 321 Neo`s. This capacity enhancement is aimed to offer over 2400 additional seats per week, thus enabling the Airline to serve more passengers.     Having re-evaluated its presence in the Far East, the Airline is suspending operations to Hong Kong with effect from October 27, 2018. This decision has been taken following careful assessment of commercial results over a significant period of time. The airline will continue to evaluate future opportunities in the Hong Kong region, as it does with all its markets.   Arrangements are being made to route passengers who have already purchased tickets to and from Hong Kong, on other airlines. SriLankan apologizes for any inconvenience caused due to changes in flight timings.   SriLankan operates a route network of 114 cities in 48 countries from its hub in Colombo, with a fleet of modern aircraft with the latest comforts such as flatbeds in Business Class and sophisticated in-flight entertainment, to complement its world class service. As a member of the prestigious oneworld global airline alliance, SriLankan also connects its passengers to over 1,000 cities in 160 countries around the globe through its oneworld partner airlines.

Opening of Sri Lanka’s First International Mall Redefines Lifestyle in Colombo

Opening of Sri Lanka’s First International Mall Redefines Lifestyle in Colombo

After months of preparation, The Mall at Colombo City Centre opens to the public today amidst an ambience of colourful celebrations. Conveniently situated by the historic Beira Lake at the heart of the city, the ultramodern lifestyle destination is billed as Sri Lanka’s first international mall, and is set to transform not only the lifestyles of contemporary Sri Lankans, but also the urban fabric of Colombo as it develops into one of the greatest capitals on par with the best in the world. “This is a historic moment for Sri Lanka,” said Anand Sundaram, CEO of Colombo City Centre. “The denizens of Colombo have long deserved a world of cosmopolitan experiences befitting of the city’s urban renaissance. And today we are proud to celebrate these experiences with them as they come to life in the country’s first international mall. Mrs. Aban Pestonjee, Chairperson – Abans Group, the local partner behind Colombo City Centre also commented: “Our initial vision behind the development of the Mall was to provide a place where Sri Lankan families can enjoy quality time together. I am glad to say that, with the mix of high-end local and international brands, food court, and 6-screen Cineplex, we will be achieving that ideal and offering Sri Lanka its first ever international Mall.” While Anand Nadathur, Group CEO, Next Story Group, the Singapore based joint venture partner added “Urban spaces ought to be reimagined to match how consumers live, work, play and stay in the new digital age. Integrating these functions into a coherent & compelling series of well-designed spaces & experiences allows us to create & foster unique, thriving communities. The Mall at Colombo City Centre, we believe is the first such attempt in Sri Lanka and we hope that this will set the benchmark for future developments in the country. Congratulations to the team for bringing the concept to fruition.” Designed as the first integrated lifestyle complex of its kind in Sri Lanka, the Mall at Colombo City Centre will offer a world-class combination of culinary, entertainment, and retail experiences from 10 AM to 10 PM every day. From famed international brands to familiar local favourites, shopping at the Mall will mark a new era of retail for Sri Lanka with dedicated upscale outlets for names such as Apple, ALDO, Nike, Spa Ceylon and more. A multitude of food and beverage from around the world will also be on offer with several new restaurants opening alongside Sri Lanka’s first food atrium, featuring specialty eateries from Southeast Asia as well as a high-end dessert bar conceptualized by a three-star Michelin Chef among many other flavours to savour. Finally, Scope Cinemas will also eventually open 6 state-of-the-art cinemas that will be able to screen at least 25 movies daily. A highly anticipated addition to the capital’s fast-developing skyline, Colombo City Centre is Sri Lanka’s first BOI-approved mixed development project, slated for completion in early 2019. The USD 180 Million joint venture between local retail giant, Abans, and Singapore-based Next Story Group is one of Sri Lanka’s largest foreign direct investments in recent times, and rises 47-storeys above the heart of the city. Honored as the ‘Best Mixed Use Development’ by PropertyGuru Asia, ‘Most Promising Mixed Use Development’ by CMO Asia, ‘Asia’s Greatest Brand’ by AsiaOne Magazine and ‘Upcoming Mall of the Year’ among several other accolades by the Golden Globe Tigers, Colombo City Centre is a multi award-winning skyscraper dedicated towards transforming Sri Lanka’s capital into a global metropolis with the first integrated lifestyle complex of its kind. This includes Sri Lanka’s first international mall with high-end brands, a 700-seat food court and 6-screen multiplex cinema, the upscale NEXT Hotel® with 164 keys, and 192 luxurious residential units designed to offer unmatched views of the city, Beira Lake, and Indian Ocean.