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India imposes 40% export duty on onions to calm rising prices

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India will impose with immediate effect a 40% export duty on onions up to Dec. 31 in an attempt to improve domestic availability of the vegetable, the ministry of finance said in a notification on Saturday.

The duty imposed by the world’s biggest exporter of onions will help New Delhi dampen local prices ahead of key state elections later this year but will force Asian buyers to shell out more, as other regional exporters have limited supplies.

“The export duty will make Indian onions more expensive than those from Pakistan, China, and Egypt. This will naturally lead to lower exports and aid in reducing local prices,” said Ajit Shah, an exporter based in Mumbai.

Average wholesale onion price in key markets has jumped nearly 20% from July to August, to 2,400 rupees ($28.87) per 100 kg on concerns that erratic rainfall would lead to lower yields.

India is heading for its driest August in more than a century, with scant rainfall likely to persist across large areas, partly because of the El Niño weather pattern, two weather department officials told Reuters on Friday.

“Onions harvested during the summer months are rotting quickly, and the new supplies are being delayed. This situation has prompted the government to take precautionary measures,” said another Mumbai-based exporter.

India’s onion exports in the first half of 2023 jumped 63% from a year ago to 1.46 million metric tons.

Countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka rely on Indian shipments.

Onions are used as the base for traditional dishes across Asia such as biryani in Pakistan and India, belacan in Malaysia and fish curry in Bangladesh.

“The Indian duty would prompt China and Pakistan to raise prices, as they have a limited surplus for exports,” said the second exporter.

India’s annual retail inflation (INCPIY=ECI) in July rose to its highest in 15 months as vegetable and cereals prices skyrocketed, putting pressure on the government to take action to bring down prices.

India surprised buyers last month by imposing a ban on widely consumed non-basmati white rice sales to dampen price rises.

Source: Reuters

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CBSL appoints two New Deputy Governors

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The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has appointed two new Deputy Governors, effective this week. 

Assistant Governor and Secretary to the Governing Board A.A.M. Thassim has been appointed as Deputy Governor starting June 20, while Assistant Governor J.P.R. Karunaratne will assume his new role on June 24.

These appointments were made by the Minister of Finance, following recommendations from the CBSL Governing Board, in accordance with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Act, No. 16 of 2023.

Mr. Thassim brings over 31 years of experience at CBSL, having worked in various areas including Banking Supervision and Regulation, International Operations, and Risk Management. He has also been part of several high-level committees on monetary policy and financial stability.

Mr. Karunaratne, with over 33 years at CBSL, has extensive experience in the supervision and regulation of financial institutions, currency management, and public debt. He has significantly contributed to strengthening the legal framework and consolidation of the Non-Bank Financial Institutions sector.

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UK rejects TGTE appeal to lift LTTE proscription

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The UK Proscribed Organisations Appeals Commission has rejected an appeal by the Transitional Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) to lift the proscription on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a terrorist organisation in Britain.

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Sabry, confirmed that the UK will continue to maintain the proscription on the LTTE. Announcing this on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter), Sabry noted that the independent court, headed by a high court judge and two retired senior diplomats, ruled against de-proscribing the LTTE.

The TGTE, which supports the creation of an independent Tamil state in north-east Sri Lanka, had appealed to the UK to lift its ban on the LTTE. However, the TGTE itself is not proscribed in the UK as it seeks to achieve its political and ideological objectives through non-violent means.

Sabry further stated, “The LTTE international network’s approach and strategy is to get foreign governments to de-proscribe the LTTE so that they could revive the LTTE.”

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Thai PM justifies frequent international trips, including a visit to Sri Lanka

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Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin defended his frequent globe-trotting during his first 10 months as leader of the Southeast Asian nation, in remarks aired in a television broadcast on Saturday.

A real estate tycoon and political newcomer who became prime minister in August last year, Srettha made 15 overseas visits and pledged a two-month halt in March in response to public criticism.

“Some of these visits are not avoidable,” he said, referring to those for official meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as to China and Japan, while a third was to Sri Lanka to sign a free trade pact.

Other visits aimed to draw trade and investment, said Srettha, nicknamed Thailand’s salesman, who has often spoken of his goal of luring more foreign investment to the country.

“It’s necessary to go,” he said in the remarks recorded in advance.

Source: Reuters

–Agencies

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