Sri Lanka rupee ends steady, stocks up 0.19-pct

 ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka rupee closed steady at around 179.60/90 rupees against the US dollar in the spot market Thursday, while gilt yields eased and stocks gained 0.19 percent, market participants said.

The currency traded at an intraday low of 179.70 rupees to the US dollar.

The rupee ended Wednesday at around 179.60/90 rupees to the US dollar, strengthening from an intraday low of 180.85 rupees after monetary authorities intervened, market participants said.

Sri Lanka’s unprecedented constitutional crisis deepens by the day.

On Thursday, parliament voted to cut spending by the office of the disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

A majority of 123 legislators of the 225-assembly backed the move.

Earlier in the week, legislators loyal to President Sirisena announced a boycott of parliament.

It’s now more than a month since Sirisena sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and replaced him with 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.

Seven judges will hear the case against the dissolution of parliament next month.





The court of appeal will hear a case this Friday disputing the legality of Rajapaksa’s cabinet.

In equities, Colombo’s All Share index gained 0.19 percent, closing 11.54 points higher at 5,992.70, and the S&P SL20 was up 0.34 percent, gaining 10.80 points to 3,159.76.

Market turnover was 745.9 million rupees with 62 stocks gaining and 62 declining.

John Keells Holdings (up 1.10 rupees to 159.10 rupees), Sri Lanka Telecom (up 60 cents to 22 rupees) and Trans Asia Hotels (up 4.40 rupees to 80 rupees) contributed to the benchmark index gain.

Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings closed 2.60 rupees higher at 28.50 rupees.

Net foreign selling was 143.1 million rupees, down from 202 million rupees the previous day.

Foreign selling in John Keells Holdings was 199.1 million rupees according to Asia Securities.

There were two crossings in John Keells Holdings for 194 million rupees, and one each in Lion Brewery for 55.5 million rupees and NDB Bank for 42 million rupees.

Lion Brewery was unchanged at 555 rupees and NDB Bank ended 80 cents lower at 106.50 rupees.

Bond yields edged slightly lower in the secondary market, dealers said.

A five-year bond maturing in 2023 closed at 11.90/12.00 percent, easing from the 12.10/25 percent closing the previous day.

A bond maturing in 2027 ended at 12.25/30 percent, down from 11.26/35 percent.

However, a three-year bond maturing in 2021 ended at 11.80/90 percent, up from Wednesday’s closing of 11.75/85 percent. (COLOMBO, 29 November 2018)



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