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Financial News: Sri Lanka Cuts Key Rate By 50 Bps

Sri Lanka Cuts Key Rate By 50 Bps

05/31/2019 - 03:42:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Sri Lanka's central bank lowered its key interest rates by 50 basis points to help the economy to reach its potential after the deadly Easter Sunday terror attacks hurt business sentiment.

The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka decided to reduce the Standing Deposit Facility Rate and the Standing Lending Facility Rate by 50 basis points to 7.50 percent and 8.50 percent, respectively.

The bank had earlier raised its deposit facility rate by 75 basis points and the lending facility rate by 50 basis points in November.

The central bank said it aims to stabilize inflation at the mid-single digit levels to enable the economy to reach its potential.

The Easter Sunday attacks have affected confidence and sentiments of economic agents, particularly disrupting tourism and related activities. Although normalcy is gradually returning to economic activity, a lower than initially projected growth could be anticipated during 2019, the bank noted.

The bank expects inflation to remain in the desired 4-6 percent range in 2019 and beyond, supported by appropriate policy measures.

"The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) was able to cut rates today as a result of the resilience of the currency, but we doubt this will last," Capital Economics economist Katie Kwok said.

"We think that the rupee will come under pressure again this year, limiting the scope for further loosening."

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