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Establishment of Financial Consumer Relations Department of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) established a new department named “Financial Consumer Relations Department” (FCRD) with effect from 10.08.2020 to serve as the single point of contact to handle all external complaints and grievances directed to CBSL on entities regulated by CBSL under the provisions of Section 33 of the Monetary Law Act No. 58 of 1949, as amended.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka continues its Accommodative Monetary Policy Stance

The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, at its meeting held on 19 August 2020, decided to maintain the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) of the Central Bank at their current levels of 4.50 per cent and 5.50 per cent, respectively. The Board recognised the necessity to continue the accommodative monetary policy stance, particularly as market lending rates are yet to reflect the full passthrough of policy easing measures implemented thus far. The Board decided to adopt targeted measures to reduce specific interest rates that it considered to be excessive, which would help marginal borrowers. The Board anticipates a further reduction in overall market lending rates, thereby encouraging borrowing for productive economic activity and reinforcing support for COVID-19 hit businesses as well as the broader economy, given the conditions of subdued inflation.

Sri Lanka Purchasing Managers’ Index - July 2020

Purchasing Managers' Indices for both Manufacturing and Services activities continued to expand in July 2020, compared to June 2020 benefitting from the normalising of economic activities.

Reflecting that manufacturing activities are gradually approaching the pre-COVID levels with the normalization of business activities, the Manufacturing PMI continued to expand in July 2020 recording 64.6 mainly due to the expansion in New Orders and Production sub-indices.

Services sector continued to expand for the second consecutive month with PMI reaching 51.4 in July 2020. This was underpinned by the expansions observed in New Businesses, Business Activities and Expectations for Activity compared to June 2020 indicating a further recovery in the services sector, which was affected by COVID-19 pandemic.

External Sector Performance - June 2020

Sri Lanka’s external sector stabilised further in June 2020, with the gradual normalisation of domestic economic activity. The trade deficit declined in June 2020 (year-on-year), with a more than expected rebound in merchandise exports and notable reduction in merchandise imports on account of restrictions on non essential imports. Workers’ remittances recorded a growth in June, for the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the month, both the government securities market and the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recorded some outflows. Supported by the reduction in the trade deficit, the Sri Lankan rupee recorded a marginal appreciation during June 2020.