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Sri Lankan shares end steady; rate hike worries weigh
March 12, 2015 / 11:57 AM / 3 years ago

Sri Lankan shares end steady; rate hike worries weigh

COLOMBO, March 12 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan stocks ended little changed near a five-week closing low as investor worries over rising interest rates weighed on sentiment, with turnover slumping to a six-week low, well below the daily average so far in the year.

The main stock index ended almost flat, at 7,109.07, its lowest close since Feb. 5, extending the fall to 2.83 percent in the last nine sessions.

The day’s turnover stood at 491.5 million rupees ($3.70 million), the lowest since Jan. 26 and below this year’s daily average of 1.37 billion rupees.

“Everybody is adopting a wait and see approach,” said Dimantha Mathew, manager, research at First Capital Equities (pvt) Ltd.

Investors were confused about the rise in interest rates in a low inflation economy, he said. Sri Lanka’s annual inflation rate hit a record low of 0.6 percent last month.

Yields on t-bills rose between 21 basis points and 38 basis points at a weekly auction on Wednesday with the 91-day t-bill yield rising to a 14-month high of 7.10 percent.

The central bank has raised more than 142 billion rupees ($1.07 billion) this week alone through the sale of development bonds and government securities.

The heavy borrowing has resulted in a spike in market interest rates.

Foreign investors were net buyers of 4.8 million rupees worth of shares, extending the year-to-date foreign inflow to 2.58 billion rupees.

Shares in Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc fell 1.52 percent and top listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon lost 0.27 percent.

$1 = 132.9000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath

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