Bourse closes marginally on the up for Christmas

Thursday, 24 December 2015 00:26 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters:  Sri Lankan shares closed marginally higher on Wednesday, snapping a two-session losing streak in thin trade ahead of a long weekend, led by market heavyweight John Keells Holdings.

Turnover slumped to the lowest level since 24 March 2014 at Rs. 05.2 million ($1.43 million), against this year’s daily average of Rs 1.08 billion.

The market is expected to be lacklustre with low turnover due to year-end holidays starting this week, stockbrokers said.

Markets are closed today for a Buddhist religious holiday and on Friday for Christmas.

The main stock index ended 0.06 percent firmer at 6,858.64, after hitting its lowest close since 16 December in the previous session.

Foreign investors sold a net Rs. 9.3 million worth of equities, extending the net outflow to Rs. 4.27 billion so far this year.

John Keells, the country’s top conglomerate, closed 0.5 percent higher.

Rupee ends lower on importer dollar demand

Reuters: The Sri Lankan rupee closed lower on Wednesday on increased dollar demand from importers, but trading was lacklustre as many market participants stayed away in a holiday-shortened week, currency dealers said.

The rupee earlier dipped to the record low level of 143.80 it hit on Dec. 15, but pared some losses to close at 143.70/75 per dollar, down from Tuesday’s close of 143.65/85.

“There were some seasonal remittances to offset the early importer demand,” a currency dealer said.

The markets are closed Thursday for a Buddhist religious holiday and on Friday for Christmas.

The currency has fallen 6.3% since the Central Bank allowed free float of the rupee on 4 September, and it is expected to weaken further in 2016 due to lower reserves and higher imports, according to currency dealers.

The rupee has fallen 8.8% so far in the year.It is expected to remain weak unless Sri Lanka tightens monetary and fiscal policies, dealers say.

The December monetary policy announcement is scheduled for 30 December at 1930 hours (1400 GMT).

The currency may however strengthen if foreign exchange inflows increase, according to dealers.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told Reuters on Wednesday that Sri Lanka is expected to get $1 billion from offshore investors within a month, a move that could boost the island nation’s faltering reserves.

Commercial banks parked Rs. 96.3 billion ($670.61 million) of surplus liquidity on Wednesday using the Central Bank’s deposit facility at 6%, official data showed.