Business

Foreign reserves approximately $ 7.37 b with IMF tranche

With the receipt of the sixth tranche of $ 164.1 million of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following the fifth review of Sri Lanka’s economic performance on Tuesday (14), Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves are likely to be approximately $ 7.37 billion.

This figure is based on provisional figures from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), which said that official reserve assets were $ 7.2 billion on 30 April prior to the infusion of the sixth tranche of the $ 1.5 billion loan. The latest tranche brought the total disbursement under the arrangement to $ 1.155 billion.

As at 30 April, the foreign currency reserves were $ 6.3 billion, gold reserves were $ 819.7 million, Special Drawing Rights (SDR) was $ 0.4 million, and other reserve assets were $ 1.1 million. Reserve position in the IMF was 66.3.

Following the successful issuance of international sovereign bonds (ISB) last month, Sri Lanka’s gross official reserves increased to $ 7.6 billion by the end of March 2019, an estimated import cover of 4.3 months.

On 7 March, CBSL returned to the US bond markets, successfully pricing a new issuance of a $ 1 billion five-year and $1.4 billion 10-year senior unsecured fixed rate bonds with maturity dates of 14 March 2024 and 14 March 2029, respectively. The bonds had a coupon of 6.85% and 7.85% for the new five-year and 10-year tranches, respectively.

According to the CBSL, gross official reserves declined to $ 6.2 billion in January this year due to the settlement of a maturing ISB.

Sri Lanka settled a $ 1 billion five-year ISB in January this year, which was borrowed in 2014. For the resettlement of the loan, $ 650 million left over from the leasing of the Hambantota Harbour to a Chinese company was used while the rest was filled using reserves as the plans to raise the balance $ 350 million through state banks failed.

Foreign reserves were marked at just $ 6.9 billion by the end of 2018, which is a decline from $ 7.9 billion in October prior to the 51-day political crisis that caused all three major ratings agencies to downgrade the country’s debt.
Meanwhile, the IMF is holding its forecast for Sri Lanka’s 2019 economic growth at 3.5% regardless of the devastating attacks. IMF’s Mission Chief for Sri Lanka Manuela Goretti on Thursday stated that it was premature to assess the financial damage to the country from the 21 April attacks.