ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka rupee eased to 157.50/65 against the US dollar on Friday after monetary authorities intervened to defend the currency while gilt yields continued to edge upwards and stocks fell 0.26 percent, dealers and brokers said.
The rupee opened trading at 157.75/85 rupees against the US dollar in the spot market.
Bank dealers had been reluctant to trade after heavy moral suasion from the Central Bank before state-names, usually acting on behalf of monetary authorities, sold dollars to small banks to strengthen the rupee.
The rupee came under pressure after the central bank cut rates and injected tens of billions of rupees into the banking system to enforce a rate cut, keeping markets flooded with excess liquidity term pumping more money than was needed for the festive season, driving the rupee down from 155.40/45 rupees against the US dollar a month earlier.
The central bank has since mopped up a lot of the cash injected for the festival season, but by the time the credibility of the peg was broken and exporters were holding back dollar.
Gilts yields rose in the secondary bond market Friday.
A five-year bond maturing in 2023 closed at 10.40/45 percent in two-way quotes, up from 10.30/35 percent the previous day.
A ten-year bond maturing in 2028 closed higher at 10.60/68 percent, up from 10.52/58 percent the previous day.
The Colombo All Share index closed 0.26 percent lower, down 17.14 points to 6,506.74, the S&P SL20 more liquid stocks fell 0.24 percent, down 8.92 points to 3,640.48.
Market turnover was 386.4 million rupees, down 16.6 percent from the previous day. “This was due to lacklustre investor participation,” Asia Securities said.
Net foreign buying was 34.8 million rupees, against buying of 46.3 million rupees the previous day.
Foreign buying in John Keells Holdings was 77 million rupees. Foreign selling in Chevron Lubricants was 27 million rupees, according to Asia Securities.
JKH closed 10 cents lower at 164 rupees and Chevron Lubricants was also down 10 cents to 89.90 rupees.
Ceylon Tobacco (down 27.10 rupees to 1,022.90 rupees), LOLC (down 3.40 rupees to 121.60 rupees), and The Lanka Hospital Corporation (down 3.70 rupees to 55 rupees) weighed down the benchmark index.
Off market negotiated trades, or crossings, accounted for 20.5 percent of market turnover with two crossings in JKH at 79.2 million rupees. (COLOMBO, 04 May 2018)