Sri Lanka rupee at 160 to the US dollar, stocks fall 0.71-pct

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka rupee weakened to close at 159.95//160.05 rupees against the greenback, while stocks fell 0.71 percent on selling in index-heavy John Keells holdings, brokers and dealers said.

The US dollar closed at 159.90/95 rupees the previous day.

Interbank markets were short by 19.4 billion rupees, up from 18.5 billion rupees the previous day with the Central Bank injecting 25 billion rupees in new money through an overnight reverse repo auction at 8.50 percent.

Keeping the market short reduces pressure on the rupee.

Banks which were short borrowed 12 billion rupees in new money from the Central Bank’s overnight window, and banks with excess liquidity deposited 17.6 billion rupees in the central bank.

Gilt yields were steady in the secondary Treasury bonds market.

A five-year bond maturing in 2023 closed at 10.43/45 percent in two-way quotes, marginally narrower from the previous day’s closing of 10.42/45 percent.

A ten-year bond maturing in 2028 closed at 10.68/72 percent, up from 10.65/70 percent the previous day.

The Colombo All Share Index fell 0.71 percent, down 44.78 points to 6,265.73, and the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks fell 1.15 percent, down 40.37 points to 3,473.52.

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Market turnover was 638.6 million rupees, down from 1.3 billion rupees the previous day.

Index-heavy John Keells Holdings, Ceylon Tobacco, HNB and Commercial Bank weighed down the benchmark index with 106 stocks declining during the day against 50 that gained.

John Keells closed 4.90 rupees lower at 150.10 rupees and Ceylon Tobacco fell 18.10 rupees to 1,100.10 rupees.

HNB fell 4.80 rupees to 235 rupees and Commercial Bank closed 1.60 rupees lower at 125.30 rupees.

Net foreign buying was 76.2 million rupees, compared to selling of 98.8 million rupees the previous day.

Foreign buying was 101 million rupees in Dialog (up 30 cents to 14.50 rupees) and selling in John Keells Holdings was 30 million rupees, according to Asia Securities.

Off-market negotiated trades, or crossings amounted to 51 percent of market turnover comprising seven crossings in John Keells Holdings totalling 326.7 million rupees. (COLOMBO, 19 June, 2018)

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