Gross official foreign reserves up - CB Governor

The country’s Gross official foreign reserves have greatly improved to around USD 9.2 billion by the end of June, said Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy yesterday.

At the end of 2017, reserves stood at USD 8 billion.

Addressing a media briefing at the Central Bank premises in Fort, the Central Bank Governor explained that the “Successful issuance of the International Sovereign Bond in April 2018, receipt of the fifth tranche of the Extended Fund Facility of the IMF, receipts from the divestiture of the Hambantota Port and foreign exchange purchases of the Central Bank from the domestic market in early 2018”, had greatly helped improve the situation.

The Central Bank recorded a net foreign exchange absorption of USD 141 million from the domestic market in the first half of 2018.

Economic growth this year however has to be slow to pick up with the economy recording 3.2 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2019, compared to the revised annual growth rate of 3.3 percent in 2017.

Economic growth this year however has been mainly driven by services and agriculture, with industry showing moderate growth. Agriculture has picked up with the end of the drought that has plagued many districts for the last three years.

When it came to export earnings, the Governor noted, “The moderation of earnings from exports alongside the increase in import expenditure resulted in an expansion of the trade deficit over the first four months of 2018”.

“The recent growth in imports had been largely driven by the importation of personal vehicles and gold, the latter is expected to have been addressed by the imposition of the customs duty on gold imports,” he said.

Earnings from tourism and workers’ remittances however have continued their positive growth momentum so far during the year.




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