Sri Lanka currency adjustments terrible: Nishan de Mel


Dec 10, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s currency adjustments which are poorly timed affect business planning and confidence of international community while having other effects, a senior researcher said.
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Nishan de Mel, head of research at Verite said that in Sri Lanka, the strength of rupee is incorrectly tied up with economic virility. “We know that politically in Sri Lankan society the way in which the economic ideas have been percolated says that the value of your currency is a sign of your virility,” he said. “Economic virility and the strength of currency are somehow brought together mistakenly,” De Mel said.
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He was speaking at the LBR LBO Debrief conference held in Colombo on Tuesday.
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De Mel said the currency stayed flat for over 8 months before it suddenly increased in September after the general elections, a sign of a failure to gradually adjust the currency.

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“Before the election it was not possible to allow the currency to adjust. But you pent up all that suppressed pressure and let it go suddenly,” he said. “It is of course terrible in terms of business planning and confidence of international community when your currency adjustments are not smooth.
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Verite-1 De Mel however said the currency adjustment problem is not only a political issue but also an issue of poor volatility management by Central Bank. “There is no problem in the currency adjusting if you manage it in a way that the adjustment of a currency off sets the interest rate that Sri Lanka has over the US dollar,” De Mel said.
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“The problem is when you are depreciating the currency at 1 percent a month then everybody is trying to clear out when these volatile depreciations are going to take place.” He said the role of Central Bank’s professional management of a currency is really to manage a much smoother path of currency depreciation that doesn’t create incentives of capital flight. “But from the 1990s onwards, the Central Bank has been really quite poor at that.
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Many people thought just because the currency has been a strong or stable against the US dollar; that’s great,” “But it’s not great because it just means that it is going to jump up one day and everybody is going to have speculative issues around when that’s going to happen.” De Mel further said. Verite-2 Verite-3
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8 years ago

It is like the present symptoms/effects of a past life full of errors lived for many decades under many administrations.It is a must to look@ When,How,Why we reached this point in order to effect correct treatment regime for the gravely ill patient.No need to mention to the extent real issues are submerged may be due to various reasons like non availability of information professional risks to present handlers will naturally increase.

Nirmalan Dhas
Nirmalan Dhas
8 years ago

As you know very well my dear fellow, there are many things that we could and should do and it is quite frustrating to have to stand by and watch as those who should be doing what could and should be done keep saying that they are doing it while nothing is being done. There is room to suspect that the fact that Sri Lanka’s national average IQ of 79 and teetering on the border of mental retardation is responsible for this situation. It may help to test the IQ of all employees and retain only those who have an IQ that is above 90 while sending the rest to cuckoo land. Until then we can join Dysney in celebrating the reputation that we have won as the “Monkey Kingdom”.

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