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US demand for Sri Lankan gems drops

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The demand for Sri Lankan gems from the US has dropped rapidly due to the current economic downturn in the US, the National Gems and Jewellery Authority said.

Nevertheless, the revenue generated from the export of gems, jewellery and diamonds has increased significantly compared to previous years with the increase in the value of the US Dollar.

Accordingly, an income of USD 53.88 million was earned from the export of gems, jewellery and diamonds to the US in 2022, which is the highest income from the exports recorded after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The country received an income of about USD 34.5 million by exporting gems, jewellery and diamonds to Thailand last year.

During the period from January to August 25 this year, about USD 330 million have been earned from the export of gems, jewellery and diamonds, which is a 30% growth compared to last year.

The National Gems and Jewellery Authority further said that despite the increase in income, the demand for Sri Lankan gems, jewellery and diamonds has decreased.

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WhatsApp makes it easier to find chats

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WhatsApp is making it easier to find chats by introducing new features, US technology news website ‘The Verge’ has reported. 

Meta is launching new filters that will appear at the top of your chat list: All (the default view), Unread (just messages marked as unread), and Groups (group chats and Community subgroups), it notes.

The filters start rolling out from Tuesday (16) and will become available to all WhatsApp users “in the coming weeks.”

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Indigo launches Mumbai-Colombo direct flights

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Indigo has expanded its connectivity to Sri Lanka adding Mumbai-Colombo direct flights from today (12), Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Pvt) Limited said.

Accordingly, Indigo will operate flights three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

At present, Indigo operates to three destinations in India from Colombo (Chennai twice daily, Bengaluru once daily and Hyderabad six days per week). With this new route expansion, this will increase to four destinations, and it will contribute immensely to the development of travel, trade and tourism between Sri Lanka and India. 

With the new addition, Indigo will operate 30 weekly flights to Colombo from four main cities in India.

“AASL recently had successful negotiations with Indigo to commence flight operations between Jaffna and Chennai, India. Accordingly, Indigo will commence direct flight operations between Jaffna and Chennai from June 1, 2024 onwards with daily flight operations. This connectivity will boost travel and trade in the Northern Province, strengthening the cultural and religious bonds between the two nations”, Eng. Athula Galketiya, Chairman of Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Pvt) Limited (AASL) said.

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Questions raised on investing in the Ceylon Dollar Bond

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Personal Foreign Currency Accounts (PFCs) and Business Foreign Currency Accounts  (BFCAs) cannot be invested in the Ceylon Dollar Bond Fund, says a spokesman of the Foreign Exchange Department at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

He said that banks are well aware of this.

The spokesman was responding to ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ on queries raised on social media promotions being done by Ceylon Asset Management Co. Ltd, with regard to such investments.

Ceylon Asset Management Co. Ltd. is also a company that is registered with the CSE.

The spokesman further notes that the CBSL has only permitted them to invest in ISBs.

However, promotions done by the company have indicated that dollar investments can also be done through PFCs, and that the investors can expect around a 24% dollar returns.

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Experts state that expecting such high profits in ISB investments, is questionable.

Upon contacting the DG of Ceylon Asset Management Co. Ltd, – Dulindra Fernando, he briefly stated that the CBSL has permitted their company to do such foreign fund transfers while some banks have refused to do so.

However, he urged to submit a formal request via email for further details.

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