Sri Lanka rupee steady near all-time low, stocks down 0.23-pct
ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka rupee closed unchanged near its all-time low against the US dollar Wednesday, while gilt yields increased on low volumes and stocks closed 0.23 percent lower on foreign selling Teejay Lanka, dealers and brokers said.
The rupee closed at 157.75/90 rupees against the US dollar in the spot market, unchanged from the previous day and close to Friday’s 157.80/90 rupees, after trading within a narrow range during the day, dealers said.
Sri Lanka’s central bank triggered a small run on the rupee by printing billions of rupees to enforce a rate cut on top of seasonal cash demands in April. The US dollar was trading at 155.35/40 rupees nearly two weeks ago.
The central bank mopped up 7.5 billion rupees through a repo auction Tuesday and on Friday it permanently sterilizing about 19 billion rupees it had printed through Treasury bill purchases.
Gilt yields edged up in the secondary bond market, dealers said.
A five year bond maturing in 2023 closed at 10.18/25 percent in two-way quotes, up from the previous day’s closing of 10.15/25 percent.
A ten-year bond maturing in 2028 closed at 10.45/50 percent, up from 10.35/45 percent the previous close.
The Colombo All Share index closed 15.30 points lower, down 0.23 percent to 6,518.64, and the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks closed 0.28 percent lower, down 10.21 points to 3,642.79.
Market turnover was 612.7 million rupees, up 18.3 percent from the previous day.
Teejay Lanka (down 2 rupees to 30 rupees), Overseas Realty (down 90 cents to 16.20 rupees) and Distilleries (down 20 cents to 22,20 rupees) weighed down the benchmark index.
John Keells Holdings gained 30 cents to 164.20 rupees and Softlogic Holdings closed 70 cents higher at 23.40 rupees.
Net foreign selling was 18.3 million rupees, against buying of 287.9 million rupees the previous day.
Foreign selling in Teejay Lanka was 24 million rupees, according to Asia Securities, followed by 10 million rupees in Seylan Bank (closing 20 cents higher at 85.20 rupees).
Two off-market negotiated trades, or crossings, totalled 44.4 million rupees and accounted for 7.2 percent of market turnover.
There was one crossing each in John Keells Holdings at 24 million rupees, and Ceylon Tobacco at 20.4 million rupees.
Ceylon Tobacco was unchanged at 1,020 rupees. (COLOMBO, 02 May, 2018)