Rupee reaches new low; stocks end 0.14-pct lower
ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka rupee closed at a new low of 158.95/159.10 rupees against the US dollar on Friday as gilt yields edged higher and stocks closed 0.14 percent lower on selling in John Keells Holdings and banking stocks, dealers and brokers said.
The rupee was quoted at 158.95/159.10 rupees against the US dollar in the spot market on importer demand, with actual trades taking place at around 158.90 rupee levels, dealers said.
State-names usually acting on behalf of the central bank sold dollars at 158.90/95 rupees to small banks to contain the currency’s decline, dealers said.
Money markets were short by 11.90 billion rupees on Friday, down from 17.98 billion rupees a week earlier after the central bank sold down its domestic assets (Treasury bill holdings) by nearly 15 billion rupees to 35.19 billion rupees in a bid to contain credit-fuelled importer demand, dealers said.
The central bank injected 15 billion rupees via a reverse repo auction on Friday to cover the market short-fall.
In the secondary market for government bonds, yields edged marginally higher on Friday.
A five-year bond maturing in 2023 closed at 10.42/50 percent in two-way quotes, up from 10.38/42 percent the previous day.
A ten-year bond maturing in 2028 closed at 10.65/75 percent, up from the previous day’s closing of 10.57/67 percent.
In equities, the Colombo All Share index closed 0.14 percent lower, down 8.70 points to 6,354.92, and the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks shed 17.83 points, down 0.50 percent to 3,539.93.
Market turnover was 326.2 million rupees, down 40 percent from the previous day.
Selling in John Keells Holdings (down 70 cents to 156.10 rupees), Sri Lanka Telecom (70 cents lower at 25.20 rupees), and banking stocks contributed to the benchmark index decline.
Commercial Bank closed 1.20 rupees lower at 128.30 rupees, HNB was down 2.60 rupees to 240.20 rupees, and Sampath Bank ended 2.50 rupees lower at 316.40 rupees.
Net foreign buying was 12.5 million rupees, compared to selling of 114.3 million rupees the previous day.
Foreign buying in Cargills was 20 million rupees. The stock gained 2.30 rupees to close at 200 rupees.
There were no crossings, or off-market negotiated trades. (COLOMBO, 08 June 2018)