Sri Lanka rupee makes marginal gains, stocks edge lower
ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka rupee edged marginally higher against the US dollar in the spot market Monday, as gilt yields eased and stocks fell 0.10 percent amidst foreign buying in John Keells Holdings, brokers and dealers said.
The rupee gained marginally to 158.45/55 rupees against the US dollar in the spot market on export conversions, dealers said.
Money markets were short by 13.2 billion rupees on Monday with well-managed banks with excess liquidity depositing 17 billion rupees in the central bank’s excess liquidity window, while banks that were short borrowed 22.5 billion rupees from the central bank’s reverse repo window at 8.50 percent.
On May 30, the central bank sold down 15 billion rupees of its domestic assets, withdrawing cash and supporting the rupee.
A reverse repo auction on Monday saw 8 billion rupees get injected into money markets at 8.48 percent, the highest in recent months with the central bank seen wanting to protect the dollar-peg by containing excess liquidity, dealers said.
It was lower than the 12 billion injected a day earlier.
The dollar closed Friday at 158.50/60 rupees after hitting an intra-day low of 158.80 rupees in the spot market.
In gilts, yields edged lower in the secondary market for government bonds.
A five-year bond maturing in 2023 closed at 10.36/40 percent in two-way quotes, down from 10.38/44 percent the previous day.
A ten-year bond maturing in 2028 closed at 10.55/65 percent, compared to the previous close of 10.58/65 percent.
In equities, the Colombo All Share index fell 6.10 points, down 0.10 percent to 6,394.93, and the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks closed 6.86 points lower, down 0.19 percent to 3,574.37.
Market turnover was 771.8 million rupees, down, down 8 percent from the previous close.
Dialog (down 30 cents to 14.10 rupees), Hemas Holdings (down 3 rupees to 120 rupees) and Ceylinco Insurance (down 75.10 rupees to 1,683.90 rupees) contributed to the benchmark index decline.
Net foreign buying was 318.2 million rupees, up 35.6 percent from the previous day.
Foreign buying in John Keells Holdings was 143 million rupees, followed by 120 million rupees in Carson Cumberbatch.
John Keells Holdings closed unchanged at 156 rupees and Carson Cumberbatch closed 4.60 rupees higher at 170 rupees.
Six crossings, or off-market negotiated trades, amounted to 556 million rupees, accounting for 72 percent of the day’s turnover.
Four crossings in John Keells Holdings amounted to 378.6 million rupees and two in Cargills amounted to 95 million rupees.
Cargills gained 1.80 rupees to 199.80 rupees.
There was a crossing each in HNB (52.9 million rupees) and Union Assurance (29.4 million rupees).
HNB closed unchanged at 242.50 rupees and Union Assurance ended 2.50 rupees higher at 225.70 rupees. (COLOMBO, 04 June, 2018)