Sri Lanka rupee strengthens, stocks gain 0.29-pct

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka rupee gained against the US dollar on Friday, while gilt yields closed steady and stocks gained 0.29 percent on buying in John Keells Holdings, brokers and dealers said.

The rupee closed at 157.75/90 rupees against the US dollar in the spot market on thin volumes amidst central bank intervention, dealers said. The US dollar closed at 157.85/158.00 rupees the previous day.

State-names acting on behalf of the monetary authority sold US dollars to small banks in small volumes to meet importer demand, dealers said. 

On Thursday and Friday the central bank kept the overal balance of the interbank money market in deficit, in a move that will help strengthen the currency. The liquidity short expanded to 3.95 billion rupees from 0.4 billion rupees. Keeping money markets tight is consisted with a strong exchange rate.

Gilt yields closed steady in the secondary market for government bonds.

A five-year bond maturing in 2023 closed at 10.40/48 percent in two-way quotes, down from 10.42/45 percent the previous close.

A ten-year bond maturing in 2028 closed at 10.65/75 percent, unchanged from the previous close.

In equities, the Colombo All Share index closed 0.29 percent higher, up 18.88 points to 6,492.06, and the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks gained 0.52 percent, up 18.86 points to 3,628.74.

Market turnover was 433.3 million rupees, down 12 percent from the previous day.





John Keells Holdings (gaining 4.20 rupees to 161.90 rupees), Union Assurance (up 20.60 rupees to 224.10 rupees) and Vallibel One (up 60 cents to 22.80 rupees) contributed to the benchmark index gain.

Net foreign selling was 51.4 million rupees, down from selling of 77.8 million rupees the previous day.

Foreign selling in John Keells Holdings was 103 million rupees.

One off-market negotiated trade, or crossing, in John Keells Holdings amounted to 54 million rupees. (COLOMBO, 18 May 2018)

Updated with closing spot rate for US dollars quoted by dealers

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