June 30, 2014 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s credit to private business from commercial banks fell 15.7 billion rupees in April 2014, while credit to government also fell, official data showed, as inflation remained low and the exchange rate was strong. Credit to state enterprises edged up to 331.1 billion rupees in April from 330.0 billion rupees a month earlier.
Credit to the central government fell to 1,386.4 billion rupees in April from 1393.2 billion rupees in March.
April is the third month so far this year, when private credit contracted as banks cut their exposure to gold loans. But April where there are traditional New Year holiday is a month that usually has the lowest volumes of new credit given, analysts say.
Sri Lanka’s bank credit has been weak following the end of a balance of payments crisis in 2012 triggered by high credit growth. Many firms are still de-leveraging.
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Last week a top corporate said it was selling out of a beer firm it had bought when interest rates were low.
Private credit grew 3.3 percent from a year earlier to 2,481 billion rupees with loans from rupee banking units shrinking 24.3 billion rupees while loans from dollar banking units rose to 207.0 billion US dollars to 199.3 billion rupees.