November 5, 2012, 8:26 pm
Gross official reserves stood at US$ 7,053 million by end September 2012, unchanged from end August 2012, the Central Bank said yesterday (05) with balance of payments supported by borrowings and short term capital which grew 74 percent year-on-year to US$ 5,640.4 million as at end September 2012.
"Gross official reserves amounted to US dollars 7,053 million by end September 2012, while total international reserves, which include gross official reserves and foreign assets of commercial banks amounted to US dollars 8,610 million. In terms of months of imports, gross official reserves were equivalent to 4.3 months of imports by end September 2012, while total reserves were equivalent to 5.2 months of imports," the Central Bank said. Gross official reserves had stood at US$ 7,053 million by end August 2012, down US$ 46 million from US$ 7,099 as at end July 2012.
The Central Bank said tourism earnings and worker remittances continued to buttress the Balance of Payments during the first nine months of this year.
"With the number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka recording 71,111 in September 2012, thus raising tourist arrivals during the first nine months of 2012 by around 16 percent, year-on-year, to 693,772, earnings from tourism have continued to increase on a year-on-year basis. Earnings from tourism grew 22.6 percent to US$ 711.1 million. Inflows on account of workers’ remittances meanwhile, amounted to US$ 511 million in September, an increase of 27.3 percent, year-on-year, while during the first nine months of 2012, workers’ remittances recorded a growth of 16.8 percent and amounted to US$ 4,419 million.
"A higher growth is expected in both earnings from tourism and workers’ remittances during the last quarter of 2012, as higher inflows are usually recorded towards the end of the year due to seasonality related patterns in such flows," the Central Bank said.
"Foreign currency inflows to the financial market during the first nine months of 2012 have continued to strengthen the capital and financial account of the BOP. At the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), net foreign investment inflows have been recorded for each month so far in 2012. There has also been a significant increase in foreign investments in government securities during the first nine months of 2012 and net investments in Treasury bills and Treasury bonds during the first nine months of 2012 amounted to US$ 820.7 million. Meanwhile, long-term loans obtained by the government during the first nine months of 2012 amounted to US $ 2,404 million. In addition, long-term borrowings by commercial banks during January to September 2012 amounted to US$ 927.5 million. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), including foreign loans obtained by BOI companies, of which data become available only quarterly, amounted to US$ 452 million for the first half of 2012, and more inflows are expected to materialise during the remainder of the year," the Central Bank said.