UK Minister for UN and Commonwealth Baroness Anelay to visit Sri Lanka

The UK Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Baroness Anelay will visit Colombo and Jaffna from 6 to 9 November, on her first official visit to Sri Lanka.

During her visit, the Minister will reiterate the UK’s commitment to supporting Sri Lanka in strengthening democracy and human rights (including tackling gender based and sexual violence), delivering reconciliation and combating corruption, the British High Commission in Colombo said in a release.

World Bank IFC to support women in biz

Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen meets Head of IFC’s Gender Secretariat Henriette Kolb

Plans to partner with 15 firms to increase jobs for women, four-year plan to help private sector bridge gender gap (strap) 

International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has extended support in the form of a four year effort to directly partner with 15 local companies to involve more women in corporate decision making, the Industry and Commerce Ministry said in a statement yesterday. 

WB shows way forward for SL

The World Bank’s latest Sri Lanka Development Update finds that monetary and fiscal policy corrections and the start of a new IMF program have contributed to improving short-term stability of Sri Lanka’s economy.

Fireworks at COPE

COPE Chairman Sunil Handunetti

  • Major rifts appear over Central Bank Bond report, presentation to Parliament later this week
  • COPE Chairman Sunil Handunetti walks out in protest, says UNP MPs pressured Auditor General to change findings
  • UNP proposes stunning recommendation for CBSL report: demands criminal investigation into Perpetual Treasuries
  • UNP MP Mohamed Mahroof appointed temporary chair of COPE
  • UNP denies trying to protect ex-CBSL Governor; claims other recommendations will be equally forceful
  • Watchdog committee sits for marathon 10 hours; UPFA, JVP, TNA MPs absent
Rupee down on importer dollar demand

Reuters: The rupee ended weaker on Friday due to dollar demand from importers but moral suasion by the Central Bank discouraged trading in the spot currency market, dealers said.

Rupee forwards were active, with the spot-next ending at 147.95/148.05 per dollar, weaker than its previous close of 147.60/70.

The spot rupee was quoted at 146.90/95 per dollar, but there were hardly any trades.

BRICS development bank to lend $ 2.5 billion next year

From left: Brazil’s President Michel Temer, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma pose for a group picture during BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit in Benaulim, in the western state of Goa, India, 16 October - REUTERS  

PM Modi, at BRICS summit, calls Pakistan “mother-ship of terrorism” See page 21


Reuters: The development bank set up by the BRICS group of emerging economies will ramp up lending to $ 2.5 billion next year after making its first loans to back green projects, its President K.V. Kamath told Reuters.

The BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - agreed to create the New Development Bank (NDB) in July 2014 with initial authorised capital of $ 100 billion. The lender was officially launched a year later.

“The second year is scaling up, concentrating on people, getting all the skillsets in,” said Kamath, a veteran Indian banker appointed as the first head of the Shanghai-based NDB.

Travel agents renew call to abolish minimum rates

• Say Sri Lanka Tourism and all stakeholders will reap benefits in long term

Travel agents have welcomed the Government’s move to abolish minimum room rates though city hotels have objected, prompting Tourism Minister John Amaratunga to hint that the current status quo would remain in place for two more years. 

“There were proposals made to remove the minimal rate of Colombo City Hotels. We said we will consider it and we will implement it. However, we have not decided anything. We were expecting feedback from different angles whether we should implement it or not. Currently, the view is that it should remain in place for at least another couple of years,” the Minister said last week in a clear change of stance since the Ministry in July announced it would end minimum room rates in Colombo from March 2017.

China’s yuan joins elite club of IMF reserve currencies

Reuters: China’s yuan joins the International Monetary Fund’s basket of reserve currencies on Saturday in a milestone for the government’s campaign for recognition as a global economic power.

The yuan joins the US dollar, the euro, the yen and British pound in the IMF’s special drawing rights (SDR) basket, which determines currencies that countries can receive as part of IMF loans. It marks the first time a new currency has been added since the euro was launched in 1999.The IMF is adding the yuan, also known as the renminbi, or “people’s money”, on the same day that the Communist Party celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

“The inclusion into the SDR is a milestone in the internationalization of the renminbi, and is an affirmation of the success of China’s economic development and results of the reform and opening up of the financial sector,” the People’s Bank of China said in a statement.