Tuesday July 23, 2019

Sri Lanka rupee ends weaker, stocks close up 0.48-pct

Nov 27, 2018 17:31 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)

ECONOMYNEXT - The Sri Lanka rupee closed weaker at a new low of around 180.50/90 rupees against the US dollar in the spot market Tuesday while gilt yields dropped and stocks gained 0.48-pct on thin volumes amidst a worsening political crisis.

The currency traded at an intraday low of 180.60 rupees against the greenback in the spot market, market participants said.

The rupee ended Monday at around 180.10/30 rupees to the US dollar.

Sri Lanka is in an unprecedented constitutional crisis.

It's now more than a month since president Maithripala Sirisena sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and replaced him with former strong-man president Mahinda Rajapaksa, dissolving parliament and calling for elections in January.

The country's Supreme Court issued an interim injunction against the dissolution of parliament which has since twice passed a no-confidence motion against Rajapaksa who has refused to yield.

Both Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe lay claim to the premiership.

Sri Lanka's president Maithripala Sirisena said he will not reappoint Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister even if there is a no-confidence motion (which will be the third time) to his satisfaction against Mahinda Rajapaksa.

An expanded bench of seven judges have been named to hear a case against the dissolution of parliament next month.

The court of appeal will hear a case this Friday asking on what authority a group of legislators are sitting as a cabinet of ministers.

In equities, Colombo's All Share index gained 0.48 percent on thin volumes, up 28.34 points to 5,971.41, brokers said. The S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks closed a sharp 1.01 percent higher, up 31.51 points to 3,148.49.

Market turnover was 460.7 million rupees with 81 stocks gaining during the day against 35 that declined.

John Keells Holdings (up 2.20 rupees to 158.20 rupees), Commercial Bank (up 2.20 rupees to 115.20 rupees), and Cargills Ceylon (up 3 rupees to 200 rupees) contributed to the benchmark index gain.

Net foreign selling was 53 million rupees, down from buying of 17.1 million rupees on Monday.

Foreign selling in Commercial Bank was 69 million rupees, according to Asia Securities.

There was a crossing each, or off-market negotiated trades, in Commercial Bank for 67.6 million rupees, NDB Bank for 53.5 million rupees and Cargills Ceylon for 23.7 million rupees.

NDB Bank ended 2 rupees higher at 107 rupees.

Bond yields ended lower in the secondary market, dealers said.

A three-year bond maturing in 2021 ended at 11.88/97 percent, down from Monday's closing of 11.85/12.00 percent.

A five-year bond maturing in 2023 closed at 11.95/12.05 percent, easing from the 12.05/25 percent closing the previous day.

A bond maturing in 2027 ended at 12.33/45 percent, down from 12.45/50 percent. (COLOMBO, 27 November 2018)