By : Kenneth De Zilwa

The trend still remains soft and lower based on technical analysis. Thus Econsult thinks Soya meal would be continue to trade lower over the next three-four months of 2019.

China has slashed its forecast for 2018/19 soybean imports as farmer reduced their use of the bean in animal feed because of the Sino-U.S. trade conflict, which lead the government to raise its supply deficit estimate. Imports of soybeans in the crop year that starts on Oct. 1 will be 83.65 million tonnes, down 10.2 million tonnes from last month’s estimate of 93.85 million tonnes, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in its crop report.

The ministry said the lower forecast for soybean imports was due to the promotion of lower-protein feed for livestock and poultry. Additionally, falling profits at pig farms should reduce demand for soymeal feed for the herds in China, which will keep demand subdued.

The slide of the rupee is an inevitable fact - 01

Source :Thmosonreuters

While the size of the soybean import cuts are largely inline with broader industry forecasts, the report marks the first official assessment by the Chinese government on the impact of the trade war. The outlook highlighted that China’s vast pig farming sector is rapidly adjusting for a prolonged trade dispute with USA. In July 2018, Beijing levied an additional 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans, threatening supplies from the second-largest exporter of the oilseed to China.

The uncertain import outlook has  pushed the 2018/19 soybean deficit forecast to 3.57 million tonnes from 250,000 tonnes in August, according to the Chinese government report. The ministry also raised its 2018/19 domestic soybean output forecast to 15.83 million tonnes from 15.37 million tonnes in August. (Reuters)

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Moody’s Credit Rating 0 880

By : Kenneth De Zilwa

Moody’s Credit Rating Agency on the 23rd of November 2018 announced that they have downgraded Sri Lanka’s sovereign credit by one notch from B1 to B2. Many political statements have been made of this downgrade.Let us examine what it really means to Sri Lanka.

Table-1-Credit rating range From Aaa to Ca

Moodys Credit Rating - 01

Source: Econsult & moody’s

Each country is rated based on their governments likelihood to default on their external borrowing obligations.  The credit rating therefore looks at the default probability  of the state. In doing so Credit rating agencies take into account GDP growth, per capita growth, monetary conditions, fiscal deficits, external debt burden and a host of other quantitative and qualitative data in arriving at the credit rating political risk is also one such variable.

Moody’s have an established rating score which is Aaa which indicated the highest quality of credit  with a  probability of default of 0.03 percent while speculative grading’s are from Ba1- Ba3 with a probability of default 2.60 percent.  The lowest credit score is classified as High risk or Highly  Speculative obligations which are rated by Moody’s as B1, B2 and B3 (probability of default 9.58 percent).  With the lowest and most riskiest being Carated sovereign credits (two year default probability of 35.9 percent).

Sri Lanka Credit Rating B1 to B2

In this regard Sri Lanka was already rated as a high speculative country B1 (stable) since July 2013 and later the rating  outlook downgraded from stable to negative rating reaffirmed in 2016, 2017 and 2018 . Therefore Sri Lanka  a B1 credit was below investment grade to begin with the outlook changing from ‘stable’ in 2013 to ‘negative’ from June 2016. (Source: countryeconomy.com).  The corrective action plan could have reversed this outcome; however, the trajectory was unadjusted.

Moody’s appears to place a higher weight on GDP growth, inflation, growth in per capita income in order to achieve a higher grade rating, while lower inflation and lower external debt also consistently relate to higher ratings.

Therefore the overall credit rating of Sri Lanka in terms of its high risk rating has become more pronounced as the external debt and external foreign reserves situation has decreased since 2014 with warnings not heeded by persons responsible for managing the external debt. Added to this our external Foreign exchange reserves too has continued to decline and has declined by 30pct from USD 9.9 billion in April  2018 to 7.0 billion as at November 2018

Chart-1-External Debt Maturities

Source: Econsult & moody’s

Putting the Impact into perspective

The credit rating impact thus must be seen as a testimony of the shift in the economic model which has seen a shift to consumption demand which is supplied by external sources, thus this has lead to the trade deficit widen to USD 14 billion. Non-consumer import  demand during the past three year have witnessed an increase by 47pct growing from  USD 1,700 million to  USD 2,500 million over the period 2012-2014, 2015-2017 With the rupee depreciation rapidly to stem the imbalance in the overall current account.

Therefore the reason for the downgrade is three fold a) Sri Lanka’s growing debt to GDP ratio which had increased from 71% of GDP in 2014 to 85% of GDP as at 2018 June and b) its deteriorating external finances and c) the deterioration in GDP growth from 9% in 2012 to 3.1% in 2017 and also a stagnant per capital growth over the past 3 years.

Internal

Chart-2-All Share Index and USD/LKR price behavior


Source: Reuters

In fact the financial markets had already factored the credit downgrade of Sri Lanka since June this year  (Chart-3) as depicted in the Colombo Stock Exchange All Share Index breaking the 6000 mark (Yellow line) and the flight of foreign bond holders from the government debt securities market which resulted in the Rupee depreciating by 15% on year to date basis  (Purple line) therefore it is not professionally correct to underpin the downgrade to the last two weeks of political swings

External

Chart-3- Sri Lanka Sovereign Bond secondary market behavior

Source: Econsult & moody’s

The deterioration in the country’s external finances also had a significant bearing the ability raise finance as the 2025 USD Bond with a coupon of 6.875pct witnessed a sell off in the secondary market. The sell off of the Sovereign bond (ISIN 85227SAQ9) was witnessed since January 2018 but exacerbated during the past one month, reaching a yield of 9.04pct

This negative sentiment has thus prevented Sri Lanka tapping the Euro bond markets for refinancing its external maturities. This can pose a short term stress condition.

While it also provides Sri Lankan risk takers with the opportunity to buy the Sri Lanka credit at a discounted value, and factor in high yields as part of their investment portfolios

Sri Lanka in a Transforming South Asian Economic Landscape (Data as at 2018) 0 405

SL in Transform

 

  • India remains the Global leader and among the fastest growing economies of the world with a population of 1,316 Mn and USD 2,689 Mn.
  • Bangladesh with 162 Mn people with a GDP of USD 286 Bn has also sustained high economic growth in recent times.
  • Pakistan With a population of 199 Mn people and economy of USD 306.0 Bn GDP has slowed down its growth momentum, but remains a potentially important player in the region.
  • Nepal with a population of 29 Mn and an economy of USD 28 Bn sustains 6 percent growth in GDP in its transition to a lower middle income country.
  • Bhutan and Maldives with smaller in terms of population as well as GDP sustain near 7 percent growth in their respective GDP. Maldives commands the highest per capita income status in South Asia  while Bhutan commands one of the happiest country in the world,
  • Sri Lanka with 21 Mn people and a GDP of USD 92 Bn have lost its growth momentum and its development drive in recent years although it is still commanding the highest per capita income of around USD 4,000 in South Asia next only to Maldives.
  • Afghanistan with 30 Mn population remains as one of the poorest economies in the world with 2.5 percent growth in GDP and South Asia.   

 

Source : IMF – World Economic Outlook 2018 and Country Economic Updates
Source : IMF – World Economic Outlook 2018 and Country Economic Updates

By: BiZnomics Special Economic Correspondent