Administered ‘Spot’ falls to its lowest in 36 days

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The administered, albeit benchmark official “spot,” fell to its lowest figure in 36 calendar days, declining by 40 cents to Rs 361.40 to the US dollar on Friday (26 August), Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s (CBSL’s) Friday’s (26 August), data showed.

The administered official “spot’s” lower value than this (Rs 361.40) took place on 21 July with a value of Rs 361.67 and its lowest value of Rs 364.76 that took place for three consecutive market days from 9 May-11 May 2022. The administered “spot” for official purposes, such as for trades involving CBSL, Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and/or CBSL, GoSL and the market,  year on year (YoY) to  (26) Friday had depreciated by  80.75 per cent (Rs 161.45).

However, the benchmark, albeit administered market “spot” closed unchanged for the thirty ninth consecutive market day at Rs 360/364 to the dollar in two way quotes to Friday, market sources told “Finance Today.”

On Friday, the administered market “spot” was down by between 78.22-79.31 per cent (Rs 158-161), YoY; thereby causing cost push inflationary pressure as Sri Lanka is an import dependent economy, they said.

 Meanwhile on Friday, the value of this official administered “spot” was fixed at Rs 361.40 to the dollar, while a year ago it was fixed at Rs 199.95. In related developments,  the straitjacketed, inflexible administered market “spot” a year ago was fixed at Rs 202/203 to the dollar in two way quotes, unchanged for the thirty  fourth consecutive market day to Friday 26 August 2021.

The band in which the “guided market ‘spot’” may currently operate is fixed at +/- three per cent of the officially administered “spot” value, where the latter is applicable for transactions involving the GoSL, CBSL and or between the GoSL and/or CBSL with the market, which was fixed at Rs 361 to the dollar yesterday.

They further said that trades in the administered market “spot” (Rs 360/364) on Friday were mainly restricted to “bank-client” outright trades, while the interbank foreign exchange (FX) market was however dominated by swaps, which were outside the domain of the FX market for this purpose.

From 21 June 2022 to 29 June 2022, the “spot” was trading weaker at Rs 360/365 to the dollar in two way quotes, before strengthening by a rupee to be quoted at Rs 360/364 to the dollar in two way quotes on the following day, ie on 30 June 2022.

They said that the strengthening of the rupee after a 10 day lapse on 30 June was led by the positive outcome that the IMF had in their discussions with the GoSL, which “face to face” talks concluded on that day. Meanwhile, on 20 June 2022, the administered market “spot” strengthened by Rs 1 after nearly 26 months to close at Rs 359/364 to the dollar in two way quotes due to slack demand, before weakening to Rs 360/365 to the dollar in two way quotes the following day 21 June and remaining that way up to 29 June, sources said.

Prior to 20 June 2022, the last time the exchange rate (ER) made gains was on 28 April 2021, where it was artificially strengthened by CBSL, by between Rs 3-4 to be trading at Rs 199/200 to the dollar in two way quotes, where, however, trades were restricted to bank-client and not bank-bank, similar to the current state of affairs.

By Paneetha Ameresekere