Sri Lanka rupee ends stronger, bonds down; stocks close 0.16-pct higher


ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka rupee closed stronger at around 179.60/90 rupees against the US dollar in the spot market Wednesday, while bond yields edged lower and stocks gained 0.16 percent amidst foreign selling in Lion Brewery, market participants said.

The currency traded at an intraday low of 180.85 rupees to the US dollar, but some intervention by the monetary authority saw the currency strengthen to a high of 179.30 rupees against the greenback, market participants said.

The rupee ended Tuesday at around 180.50/90 rupees to the US dollar.

Sri Lanka’s unprecedented constitutional crisis deepened as legislators loyal President Maithripala 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 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.

Sirisena has 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 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.





Stocks ended 0.16 percent higher with

Colombo’s benchmark All Share index closing up 9.75 points to 5,981.16 and the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks was up a marginal 0.01 percent, gaining 0.47 points to 3,148.96.

Market turnover was 409.3 million rupees with 69 stocks gaining and 58 declining in value, amidst low investor participation, brokers said.

Sri Lanka Telecom (up 1.10 rupees to 21.40 rupees), Nestle Lanka (up 28.80 rupees to 1,653.80 rupees) and Distilleries (up 20 cents to 16.90 rupees) contributed to the benchmark index gain.

Lanka Indian Oil Company ended 1.30 rupees higher at 26.40 rupees and Commercial Bank was up 70 cents to 115.90 rupees.

Net foreign selling was 202 million rupees, down from selling of 53 million rupees on Tuesday.

Foreign selling was 111 million rupees in Lion Brewery, according to Asia Securities.

The beer maker closed unchanged 579 million rupees.

There were four crossings, or off-market negotiated trades in Lion Brewery totalling 139 million rupees.

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

A three-year bond maturing in 2021 ended at 11.75/85 percent, down from Tuesday’s closing of 11.88/97 percent.

A five-year bond maturing in 2023 closed at 12.10/25 percent, easing from the 12.10/30 percent closing the previous day.

A bond maturing in 2027 ended at 11.26/35 percent, down from 12.33/45 percent. (COLOMBO, 28 November 2018)





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