Sri Lanka reserves at USD7.3bn; used only USD184mn YTD to defend rupee

Indrajit-Coomaraswamy

Oct 02, 2018 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Central Bank says the country currently has 7.3 billion US dollars worth foreign reserves and expects to close this year with around 8.3 billion dollars of reserves.

Senior Deputy Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said that at the beginning of this year they expected to end the year with close to 9 billion dollars in reserves but now their new target is around 8.3 billion dollars.

Speaking at a media conference, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said that they are in a better position now than in the past years.

“On a net basis from January up to yesterday, we have only spent 184 million dollars on a net basis or sold into the market; we have protected reserves, we hope now the situation was stabilized,” Governor said.

Central Bank total purchases of foreign exchange were 551 million US dollars while total sales were 731 million US dollars during the year.

“The story in 2015 is much worse; in 2015, under this government, on a net basis, 3.2 billion was spent but the currency depreciation was similar around 9.5 percent.”

Governor said they are expecting one billion US dollars syndicated loan within a week from the CDB (China Development Bank), and hoping to raise 500 million more from the Panda bond and Samurai bond.

“We are planning to have another ISB (International Sovereign Bond) issuance before the end of this year, so there is plenty of money that is going to come in in terms of reserves,” he said.

“So, reserves are ok, inflation is ok, growth is low but getting higher; so where is this economy collapsing?”

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