Rupee slips on importer dollar demand; stocks flat

Tuesday, 6 March 2012 00:37 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Sri Lanka’s rupee ended weaker on Monday as importers bought dollars amid concern the local currency will depreciate further, while many stayed away from the market awaiting clues from the March monetary policy rate meeting due next week.

The rupee closed 121.95/122.05 a dollar, weaker than Friday’s close of 121.40/70, on importer dollar demand, dealers said.

A Reuters monthly forex poll on Wednesday has forecast the rupee to fall as far as 128.50 by the end of August.

The rupee has fallen 6.3 per cent since 9 February, when the central bank stopped defending it.

In the stock market, foreign investors bought market heavyweight and conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC, part of a net foreign inflow of Rs. 413.7 million ($3.40 million).

Keells Holdings, which closed up 1.57% at Rs. 181.10 a share, accounted for 15% of the day’s turnover of Rs. 1.04 billion. The day’s volume was 23.2 million.

The bourse has seen a net foreign inflow of Rs. 2.73 billion so far this year, after a net outflow of Rs. 19.1 billion last year.

The main share index edged up 0.08 percent or 4.62 points to hit 5,464.81.

The cumulative December quarter earnings from 217 companies released so far is flat year-on-year, according to data from John Keells Stockbrokers.

The Colombo bourse is one of the worst performers this year among Asian markets, with a 10.11 percent loss while the majority have had positive returns.