Inflation dipped to -0.2%YoY recording a deflation in July 2015 from 0.1% recorded in June 2015 with annual average inflation declining to 1.3% in July from 1.7% in June 2015. However, monthly CCPI increased by 0.7% from June to July 2015 caused by the increase in food prices. In the Non-food category prices in Clothing and Footwear; Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance; Transport; and Recreation and Culture sub categories increased; sub categories declined while others remained unchanged.
Trade deficit expands substantially YoY: The deficit in the trade account in May 2015 widened by 49.7% to USD 703mn in comparison to USD 470mn in May 2014. On a cumulative basis, trade deficit during the first five months of 2015 increased by 10.2% to USD 3,397mn.
Earnings from exports declined by 0.1% YoY to USD 883mn in May 2015. The decline was mainly due to the dip in tea exports for the eighth consecutive month (-12.1%) and exports in sea food, gem, diamond and jewellery (-29.8%). Significant improvement was recorded in exports of textile and garments (7.6%). On a cumulative basis, export earnings during the first five months of 2015 increased marginally by 0.2% YoY to USD 4,471mn.
Total import expenditure in May 2015 saw a significant increase of 17.2% to USD 1,585mn mainly due to growth in vehicle imports both categorized under consumer goods and investment goods. In addition, import of machinery and equipment (21.8%), and textiles and textile articles (16.3%) also contributed significantly to the growth in imports. On a cumulative basis, expenditure on imports during the first five months of 2015 increased marginally by 4.3% YoY to USD 6,868mn mainly led by consumer goods imports followed by investment goods imports.
Private sector credit growth expands in July: Credit to the private sector in May 2015 grew by 17.6% YoY. In absolute terms, credit extended to the private sector increased by LKR 48.6bn during May and by LKR 150bn on a cumulative basis during the first five months of the year supported by the prevailing low interest rates. Broad money supply (M2b) increased by 15.4% on YoY basis in May 2015, compared to13.9% recorded in the previous month. Monetary Board in the view that the current monetary policy stance is appropriate, kept Deposit and Lending rates unchanged at 6.00% and 7.50% respectively.
Arrivals increase YTD: Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 31% YoY to 175,804 in July 2015 driven by continued rapid growth of tourist arrivals from China and India. The total number of visitors YTD were up 17% to 1,005,855 from 2014. Arrivals from South Asia and East Asia have been growing rapidly, up by 36.3%YoY in July 2015 largely owing to Indian visitors while arrivals from East Asia also grew by over 37.8% YoY mainly driven by visitors from China. The Western European market remained the largest source of visitors YTD, up almost 18% from a year earlier. Arrivals from Eastern Europe are up by 16.7% YTD.
Rates marginally increases: Government Securities are continuing to experience foreign selling primarily on expectation of a depreciation in the Rupee and possible interest rate hike in the US. Interest rates increased across the board by 10-20 basis points during the month of July 2015.
Indian economy seen expanding to USD3 trillion in 5 years: India should be a USD3 trillion economy in less than five years and achieve a growth rate of 8% in the current fiscal year, said Arvind Panagariya, vice chairman of the National Institution for Transforming India Aayog. Much of the growth will be driven by the government’s "Make in India" campaign, bringing in a much larger share of global exports, Panagariya said.
Near-zero interest rates may still be on China’s table: China won’t rule out joining the list of nations that have adopted near-zero interest rate policies to spur underperforming economies.
Per capita income surges in India: Per capita income in India climbed past its 2011 level for the first time in three years in 2014, rising 9.7% from a year before. However, the figure of USD1,631 is still well below the USD4,125 level that marks middle-income status.
Japan still faces deflation threat, IMF says: The Japanese economy is picking up, but deflation risk remains, according to the International Monetary Fund. The Bank of Japan should be prepared to further ease monetary policy, the IMF says. "Policies need to be reinforced to end the lingering deflationary mindset, raise growth, restore fiscal sustainability, and maintain financial stability without undue reliance on yen depreciation," the IMF says.
World Bank opens up lending to Vietnam: Beneficiaries of lending approved by the World Bank include a Vietnamese asset-management company that deals with bad debts and the agricultural sector. Meanwhile, the government has pledged to restructure public debt, reduce expenditures, meet payment dates and make more effective use of loans.
Indonesia secures funds to ride out U.S. rate rise: Indonesia is bracing for the ill effects of an anticipated U.S. interest-rate increase this year with the help of USD1.17 billion in loans from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and Agence Francaise de Developpement. "This is part of their way of trying to diversify funding sources away from the market, especially ahead of a potential pickup in global volatility," said economist Wellian Wiranto of Oversea-Chinese Banking in Singapore.
China to direct capital toward manufacturing, services: The Chinese government will put more capital into the real economy this half of the year, primarily manufacturing and the service sector, says Li Pumin, a spokesman for the National Development and Reform Commission. Lowering financing costs and expanding channels for financing are the commission’s top priorities, Li says.
Courtesy: The Island 18 August 2015