Sri Lanka rupee gains sharply, stocks end 0.18-pct lower
ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka rupee appreciated sharply Wednesday to close at 174.90/175.10 rupees against the US dollar in the spot market, as gilt yields eased and stocks ended 0.18 percent lower on selling interest in Dialog, Hatton National Bank and Commercial Bank of Ceylon, market participants said.
The rupee had closed 176.85/177.00 to the US dollar in the spot market Tuesday. The reason for the sharp appreciation was not clear but market participants said banks were seen unwinding their forward positions.
Yields in the secondary bond market eased after the weekly Treasury bill auction.
A bond maturing in 2021 closed lower at 9.80/90 percent, down from the previous close 9.95/10.05 percent.
A bond maturing in 2022 ended 10.00/10 percent down from previous closing of 10.10/18 percent.
A 2023 bond ended at 10.30/40, down from the previous closing of 10.38/46 percent, and a 2024 bond closed at 10.50/59 percent, down from 10.60/67 percent.
A bond maturing in 2026 closed at 10.72/78, down from the previous closing of 10.80/87 percent.
A bond maturing in 2029 ended lower at 10.91/11.02 percent from the previous closing of 10.98/11.04 percent.
In equities, Colombo’s All Share closed 9.57 points down to 5,372.97 and the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks fell 0.51 percent, down 13.15 points to 2,552.16.
Market turnover was 222 million rupees, down from 333 million rupees previous close, with 42 stocks gaining and 84 declining.
Dialog (down 0.20 cents to 8.70 rupees), Hatton National Bank (down 1.80 rupees to 164 rupees) and Commercial Bank of Ceylon (down 0.70 cents to 90.80 rupees) contributed to the benchmark index decline.
Net foreign buying was 60.2 million rupees, against net foreign selling of 57 million rupees on Tuesday.
Foreign buying in John Keells Holdings was of 76.8 million rupees and foreign selling in People’s Leasing and Finance was 19.1 million rupees, Asia Securities said.
John Keells Holdings ended 40 cents lower at 138 rupees and People’s Leasing and Finance was unchanged at 13.70 rupees. (Colombo, 8 May 2019-SB)
Jehan Perera - Executive Director National Peace Council