Sri Lanka approves 2012 budget, after shock devaluation


COLOMBO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's parliament on Wednesday passed the 2012 budget with 151 votes for and 50 against, giving the nod to an overall increase in spending by 14 percent and a shock 3 percent currency devaluation that has already been put into effect.

The budget reading last week was overshadowed by the president's announcement of a 3 percent currency devaluation during his presentation of the 2012 spending plan, which was implemented by the central bank the next day.

The devaluation shocked the markets, but is expected to help boost Sri Lankan export competitiveness and ease International Monetary Fund (IMF) pressure to be more flexible with the exchange rate, to avoid spending foreign exchange reserves to keep it stable against depreciation pressure. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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Overall 2012 spending was forecast to climb 14.15 percent to 1.59 trillion Sri Lanka rupees ($13.96 billion) while the budget gap in 2012 will be narrowed to 6.2 percent versus a 7.0 percent forecast this year, in line with IMF targets. ($1 = 113.9000 Sri Lanka rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Bryson Hull)

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