Home / Financial Services/ Stocks, rupee slip ahead of Presidential Polls

Stocks, rupee slip ahead of Presidential Polls

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 15 November 2019 00:00

Reuters: Sri Lankan shares ended weaker on Thursday, edging lower from their near one-week high hit in the previous session, as investors sold healthcare and telecommunication shares ahead of Saturday’s presidential vote.

Campaigning for the polls ended on Thursday.

The benchmark stock index ended 0.16% lower at 5,980.07. The bourse fell 1.3% last week, ending a four-week run of gains. The index is down 1.19% for the year.

The rupee ended 0.06% weaker at 180.30/40 per dollar, compared with Wednesday’s close of 180.20/40. The currency is up 1.3% so far this year.

Foreign investors were net sellers of riskier assets for a sixth straight session on Thursday.

They sold a net Rs. 5.8 million ($32,132.96) worth of shares on Thursday, extending the net foreign outflow from the equities market to Rs. 7.3 billion for the year, according to index data.

Equity market turnover was Rs. 635.5 million, less than this year’s daily average of about Rs. 686.9 million. Last year’s daily average was Rs. 834 million.

Meanwhile, foreign investors bought government securities on a net basis for the third time in five weeks, buying a net Rs. 1.88 billion worth of government securities in the week ended 6 November.

Total foreign outflows from government securities through 6 November stood at Rs. 50.2 billion, Central Bank data said.

The Central Bank left its key rates unchanged on 11 October after loosening its monetary policy this year. However, growth is likely to remain subdued in the face of rising global risks.

Though wartime Defence Chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is backed by majority Sinhala Buddhists, had an early lead in the poll, the momentum has now tilted in favour of rival Sajith Premadasa who is backed by all communities in Sri Lanka, political analysts say. There are no official opinion polls in Sri Lanka.

The country’s main Tamil party last week announced its support for Premadasa, giving him an edge over Rajapaksa.

There are concerns over giveaways promised by the two top presidential candidates after officials and a credit rating agency warned that their pledges could push the country deeper into debt.

The International Monetary Fund approved the release of sixth tranche of a $ 1.5 billion loan program for Sri Lanka, but asked the authorities to show fiscal discipline.

Premadasa has promised free housing for all, free school uniforms and meals for students, and free fertiliser for farmers among other things.

Rajapaksa has vowed to cut in half a value-added tax of 15% and abolish some taxes as a way to reignite consumption. 

“Whoever wins the election, we won’t see a huge spike ... until we see proper policies of the new president,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at broker First Capital Holdings.

Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

Peace, business and prosperity

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Every nation, every community and each individual is facing the social and political impact along with the impact of violence. Interpersonal violence results in medical, policing and judicial costs immediately after the violent incident occurs and it

‘Data is the new oil’: An introduction to the proposed Data Protection Act

Friday, 6 December 2019

Data protection is not a concept we, in Sri Lanka, are familiar with. Globally, the laws surrounding data protection have been around for about 20 years. And we are only just about getting started. The proposed ‘Data Protection Act’ (hereinafter

Education: An integral part of entrepreneurship development

Friday, 6 December 2019

Governments across the world have recognised the importance of State intervention to encourage private sector innovation towards strengthening entrepreneurships in order to capitalise on comparative and competitive advantages. The main pillar of entr

Moving away from an insular mindset concerning the tea export business

Friday, 6 December 2019

Sri Lanka mainly produces Orthodox teas as opposed to CTC teas which are largely used in producing tea bags. We are ahead of others in the former category but unfortunately way behind on the latter due to our closed and insular policies. Assuming an

Columnists More