ONE; Financial Times of UK …”Lanka next Asian Tiger”
GDP surged 175 percent to $ 67 b. Sri Lanka’s first US dollar-denominated mutual fund [was] launched [and] Sri Lanka is gearing itself to be Asia’s next tiger, only five years after ending the three decades long separatist war with economic reforms fuelling astounding growth, the prestigious Financial Times published in the UK stated.
Since 2009, when the war ended the country’s Gross Domestic Product has surged 175 per cent, to $67bn, and is projected to top $76 bn this year. Real GDP, adjusted for price changes, is up by two-thirds over the period, to 6.7 per cent, and is projected to remain in that range for the medium term.
Inflation is in check, falling from 11 to 6.9 per cent, and investment is building. The Colombo Stock Exchange’s capitalisation has more than quintupled since 2005, to 2.94 tn rupees ($22.6bn). “The market is on a positive trajectory, and we expect a period of exponential growth,” the FT quotes Vajira Kulatilaka, Chairman of the Colombo Stock Exchange as saying, during a Sri Lanka Investment Forum in New York last month. “A lot of companies that went through a bad patch have now started investing, retail has picked up and economic activity is taking place in the country.”
Foreign investors have taken notice. More than a third of investments in the CSE are from abroad, and foreign direct investment inflows came to $1.4bn last year, from $300m in 2005. Last month US-based TPG Capital Management reached terms to buy a majority stake in Union Bank of Colombo for $113m in what would be the country’s biggest buyout deal. Foreign retail investment remains thin, but access is widening. Mr Kulatilaka says no western firms are known to be working on country-specific funds, though many US and European index funds and exchange traded funds tracking frontier markets have Sri Lanka exposure. Kulatilaka expects the bourse will have its first ETF launch next year. Unit trusts are accessible to foreign investors through domestic custodian banks. In July the domestic house Ceylon Asset Management launched Sri Lanka’s first US dollar-denominated mutual fund, which invests in sovereign debt and securities issued by rated banks and companies in Sri Lanka. “It is a stockpickers’ market,” says Gustavo Galindo, Portfolio Manager at Russell Investments, which operates indices as well as active funds with exposure.
“You have to have a long-term perspective because liquidity will be tight since there are not that many investors, but precisely because there are not that many investors, you have these big stock fluctuations and valuations that create opportunity,” added Galindo.
“The infrastructure, tourism and consumer sectors are especially promising,” Galindo says. Sri Lanka’s government bond market is its biggest for foreign investors.
TWO: The 100,00th Chinese Tourist for 2014 is greeted at the Airport by Sri Lankan Airlines
Achieving yet another milestone in Sri Lanka’s history of commercial aviation, the national carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines recently brought the 100,000th tourist from China into the island.
Yong He and his spouse Ms.Huihua Chen arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo via SriLankan Airlines flight UL867 in the early hours of last Saturday, October 11, 2014, as the travellers from China to accomplish this significant number ever since the signing of the Approved Destination Status in 2002 between Sri Lanka and China, enabling the promotion of tourism between the two countries.
They were warmly welcomed by the SriLankan airport staff and the officials of the SriLankan Tourism Promotions Bureau. SriLankan, a member of the prestigious oneworld alliance, and an airline that has a strong presence in the Far East currently operates a total of 15 weekly flights to three Chinese cities and Hong Kong. The Airline will also be adding Kunming to its current route map of 89 destinations in 44 countries, from December this year.
THREE: Global Hunger Index ranks Lanka as 39th in its Annual Listing & the Best in South Asia
Sri Lanka has the least number of hungry people in South Asia and the number of people going hungry has steadily declined, the 2014 Global Hunger Index (GHI) released on Monday indicated. Sri Lanka ranked 39th this year, four notches above last year’s rank, in the GHI, released for the ninth year by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Welthungerhilfe, and Concern Worldwide.
Sri Lanka’s 2014 GHI score dropped to 15.1 this year from the 16.8 in 2013. The 2014 GHI examines levels of hunger in 120 developing countries and countries in transition and scores them based on three equally weighted indicators: the proportion of people who are undernourished, the proportion of children under five who are underweight, and the mortality rate of children under five.
In Sri Lanka, proportion of undernourished in the population steadily decreased from a 33.4 percent in 1990-1992 period to 22.8 per cent in the 2011-2013 period. Prevalence of underweight in children under five years however marginally increased in the 2009 – 2013 period to 21.6 per cent from 21.1 per cent recorded for 2003 -2007.
The under-five mortality rate which indicates the deaths of children under five years of age has been declining from 2.1 percent in 1990 to 1.0 per cent in 2012 and is the lowest in South Asia.
Nepal ranked 44, India ranked 55th ,Bangladesh 57th and Pakistan 57th in the GHI.
ALSO SEE ….. S. Sivathasan: “North Sri Lanka –Growth and Development,” 31 August 2014, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/north-sri-lanka-growth-and-development/