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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » DAILY CHRONICLE™ » Sri Lanka to discuss new program later: IMF Rep

Sri Lanka to discuss new program later: IMF Rep

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Redbulls

Redbulls
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
Oct 12, 2012 (LBO) - A separate mission would arrive in Sri Lanka to have discussion on an ongoing program with Sri Lanka with the end of a successful 2.5 billion US dollar standby arrangement, an International Monetary Fund official said.

IMF's resident representative in Colombo Koshy Mathai said a mission that had just left the island was engaged in routine discussions.
Sri Lanka is due to present a budget for 2013 in November.

Mathai told a business forum at Sri Lanka's Ceylon Chamber of Commerce that he expected the administration to continue on a path of gradual deficit reduction with policies that prevented shocks to the economy.

Though growth was lower, interest rates and inflation was higher than in 2011, the economy was now stable and on a recovery track, he said.

Sri Lanka has expressed interest in having an ongoing 'surveillance' program with the IMF which may involve further contingency funds of around 500 million US dollars.

The 2.5 billion US dollar program that ended helped rescue the country from two balance of payments crises.

The IMF, as the global monetary watchdog keeps a tab on all member countries and gives policy advice and technical support when needed, even without a specific program being in place.

But an IMF eye on the economy is seen as a tool that will re-assure foreign investors

Foreign rupee bond holders now have the ability to deliver a substantial shock to the monetary system if any ruling political administration overspends and de-stabilizes the economy forcing them to take defensive action and take their money out.

Domestic bond holders, who are hemmed in by exchange controls, have no ability to check high spending rulers.

Treasury Secretary P B Jayasundera said this week that relations with the IMF has been restored a 'critical building block' had come back to the economy.

"We did not have ideological problems for the government to work with the IMF," Jayasundera told an academic forum in Colombo this week.

"We got the International Monetary Fund to stabilize the economy and put the country on a standby arrangement: the country's first ever successful stand by arrangement in terms of the full disbursements of the entire program was completed."

"And a good working relationship, at a political level, at a technocrat level was established and that is a critical building block that has come back."
http://lbo.lk/fullstory.php?nid=1380020045

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