Sri Lanka economy slowly recovering from Easter attacks

The tourism sector was negatively affected after the terror attacks which killed more than 250 people. (File/AFP)
Updated 02 November 2019

Sri Lanka economy slowly recovering from Easter attacks

  • Sri Lanka estimates their loss at around $1.5 bn in tourism
  • Official figures show that Sri Lanka will have to repay a record $5.9 billion in foreign loans this year

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s economy was slowly recovering from the impact of the Easter Sunday suicide bombings that killed hundreds and crippled the booming tourism sector, the International Monetary Fund said Saturday.
Growth was likely to hit 3.5 percent next year from this year’s forecast of 2.7 percent, the Washington-based lender said, compared to 3.2 percent in 2018.
The country estimates it will lose about $1.5 billion in tourism revenue this year as a result of a sharp dip in arrivals following the extremists’ attacks on churches and hotels, which killed at least 269 people.
“The authorities are taking actions to mitigate the revenue shortfalls caused by the terrorist attacks and preserve the hard-won gains made under the program,” said IMF deputy managing director Mitsuhiro Furusawa in a statement.
Furusawa’s comments coincided with the latest tranche of a $1.5 billion IMF bailout package for Sri Lanka first approved in 2016.
He warned that Sri Lanka would need to maintain fiscal discipline in order to rein in public debt, while acknowledging the need for urgent social and investment spending.
Sri Lanka votes in presidential polls on November 16 and parliamentary elections next year, raising fears of welfare spending at the cost of a budget black hole.
Official figures show that Sri Lanka will have to repay a record $5.9 billion in foreign loans this year.


Automechanika Riyadh opens, featuring leading global suppliers

Updated 25 February 2020

Automechanika Riyadh opens, featuring leading global suppliers

  • Saudi auto deals grew 40 percent last year with influx of female buyers

RIYADH: Leading names in the global auto services industry are out in force at Automechanika Riyadh — which opened on Monday at Al Faisaliah Hotel — vying to increase their share of a growing market expected to reach a value of $10.15 billion by 2023.

Automechanika Riyadh is the regional arm of the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organizer, Messe Frankfurt, which has licensed the Automechanika brand to event organizer Al Harithy Company for Exhibitions (ACE) Group.

Mansour Abdullah Al-Shathri, vice chairman of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce, inaugurated the trade event, which will run from Feb. 24-26.

It was revealed that Saudi auto deals grew approximately 40 percent last year, with female buyers accounting for between 10-15 percent of sales after the landmark decision to allow women to drive in the Kingdom for the first time.  

“International suppliers are stepping up their marketing for the resurgence in Saudi’s market, and this impacts the entire supply chain,” said Mahmut Gazi Bilikozen, show director for Automechanika Riyadh.

“While there is growth potential in the market, it is becoming a more competitive landscape and one which will also have to contend with evolving customer preferences. The conditions are ripe for new business relationships for those wishing to succeed in this transformative environment,” he added.

Zahoor Siddique, vice president of ACE, said: “Future vehicles will become more complex and challenging for the aftermarket industry. It is therefore imperative for manufacturers, local garages, technicians and mechanics to upskill and remain above the curve. 

 “Automechanika Riyadh is one such platform that can enable us to share and learn what the industry needs to unleash its potential.”

Two major US players — disc pad producer Giant Manufacturing and United Motors Mopar, the Kingdom’s sole distributor of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Fiat cars — forecast a bullish market over the next few years.

Giant’s vice president, Eli Youssian, said he believed car sales in the Kingdom would grow by 9 percent annually until 2025, while United Motors District CEO Hassan Elshamarani expected another three million female drivers to be on the Kingdom’s roads by the end of the year.

Both Giant and United Motors launched new products at the show, with the former rolling out its new German-engineered Euro Premium Metallic Disc brake pads, and the latter introducing its Magneti Marelli spare parts.

The high potential of the new-look Saudi automotive landscape has also struck a major chord with South Korean suppliers.

The show’s Korean pavilion is hosting new-to-market entrants and existing suppliers all looking for business partners. With products from wiper blades to filters and air-conditioning parts to brake pads, the Korean contingent was positive about the Kingdom’s prospects.

One exhibitor, D Only Automotive, is looking to ring fence 10 percent of the Saudi brake market. “With more vehicles on the road, demand for brakes will increase, (so) we believe this is possible,” said President Jeon JaeWon.

Global research and analytics firm Aranca — Automechanika’s knowledge partner — has forecast that Saudi Arabia’s automotive spare parts and service market will grow at approximately 6 percent over the next five years to reach a value of $10.15 billion by 2023.

“The spare parts and service market for passenger cars alone is expected to eclipse $6.9 billion by 2023,” said Vishal Sanghavi, Aranca’s automotive practice head.