Sri Lanka foreign reserves fall to USD7.3bn in March

Apr 23, 2018 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s official reserves have dropped to 7,309.11 million US dollars in March from 7,914.33 million dollars in February, official Central Bank data showed.

Foreign currency reserves were 6,343.17 million dollars and reserves in gold were 894.73 million dollars in March. Reserve position in the IMF was 69.57 million dollars.

Central Bank’s Treasury bill holdings were down from 13,262.03 million rupees by end February to 12,916.56 million rupees by end March.

Treasury bill holdings, however, went upwards with the start of April to 69,114.34 million rupees by 20 April 2018.

Central Bank purchases of foreign exchange from commercial banks at market rates amounted to 98.50 million US dollars in the month without any sales.

The Central Bank said during the year, they have been able to purchase over 400 million dollars from the domestic foreign exchange market to build up international reserves.

It was in addition to the net foreign exchange purchases of 1,664 million dollars in 2017, improving the non-borrowed portion of external official reserves and reducing the vulnerability to external shocks.

The IMF staff mission recently said the Central Bank should continue to remain vigilant in guarding against inflationary pressures, while continuing to build reserves and supporting greater exchange rate flexibility.

IMF added that greater exchange rate flexibility and reserve buffers would strengthen resilience against external shocks.

During the year up to 20 April 2018, the Sri Lanka rupee has depreciated against the US dollar by 2.2 percent.

The rupee depreciated against the pound sterling by 6.6 percent, euro by 5.4 percent and Japanese yen by 6.6 percent while appreciated against the Indian rupee by 0.6 percent.