Sri Lanka rupee breaches Rs175 to US dollar; stocks run out of steam

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka rupee ended Wednesday weakening sharply to a new low of 175.60/80 rupees against the US dollar, while stocks ended a three-day rally to close 0.18 percent lower, market participants said.

The currency traded at an intraday low of 175.65 rupees against the greenback, market participants said amidst importer demand and exporters not converting their earnings.

The rupee closed Tuesday at around 174.50/80 rupees against the US dollar.

Colombo’s All Share index ended 0.18 percent lower, down 10.85 points to 5,953.47, and the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks gained a marginal 0.03 percent, up 0.88 points to 3,084.08.

Market turnover was 1.3 billion rupees as 110 stocks declined in the day compared to 34 that gained.

Hatton National Bank (down 6.30 rupees to 205.10 rupees), Dialog (down 30 cents to 11.60 rupees) and Melstacorp (down 70 cents to 49.30) contributed to the benchmark index decline.

Commercial Bank closed 3.90 rupees higher at 117.90 rupees and John Keells Holdings gained 1.80 rupees to 149.70 rupees.

Net foreign selling was 139.4 million rupees, down from selling of 155.3 million rupees the previous day.

Foreign selling in John Keells Holdings was 177 million rupees, according to Asia Securities. Foreign buying in Commercial Bank was 70 million rupees.

Crossings, or off-market negotiated trades, totalling 783 million rupees accounted for 58 percent of market turnover.

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There were two crossings each in Chevron Lubricants for 367.1 million rupees and Commercial Bank for 177.8 million rupees.

Chevron Lubricants ended 80 cents lower at 70.90 rupees.

Five crossings in John Keells Holdings totalled 176.5 million and there was a crossing each in NDB Bank for 36.7 million rupees and Dialog for 24.9 million rupees.

NDB closed 1.50 rupees lower at 105 rupees.

Gilt yields ended steady in the secondary market.

A three-year bond maturing in 2021 closed at 11.10/30 percent in two-way quotes, up marginally from Tuesday’s closing of 10.90/11.20 rupees.

A five-year bond maturing in 2023 ended at 11.30/40 percent, from the previous day’s 11.32/40 percent closing. (COLOMBO, 31 October 2018)

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