February 11, 2019 / 12:40 PM / 2 months ago

Sri Lanka rupee ends higher as exporters, foreign banks sell dollar

    COLOMBO, Feb 11 (Reuters) - ** Sri Lanka's rupee         
ended a tad higher on Monday, as exporters and foreign banks
sold dollars, amid government securities' purchase by foreign
investors, market sources said. 
** The stock market, however, closed slightly weaker, while
foreign trading boosted the turnover.
** The bond market saw inflows of 11.4 billion rupees in the
week ended Feb. 6, recording its third straight weekly inflow,
the latest central bank data showed.    
** The rupee closed at 177.75/90 per dollar, compared with
Friday's close of 177.90/178.00, market sources said.
** The local currency posted a weekly loss of 0.7 percent last
week due to importer demand in the latter part of the week. 
** It has risen 2.7 percent so far this year as exporters
converted dollars and foreign investors purchased government
securities after a statement from the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and government's $1 billion debt repayment boosted
confidence.
** Investor confidence in Sri Lanka is stabilising after the
country repaid a $1 billion sovereign bond in mid-January, the
central bank chief said last month.             
** Worries over heavy debt repayment after a 51-day political
crisis that resulted in a series of credit rating downgrades    
dented investor sentiment as the country is struggling to repay
its foreign loans. 
** The rupee dropped 16 percent in 2018, and was one of the
worst-performing currencies in Asia due to heavy foreign
outflows.
** The Colombo Stock Index        ended 0.06 percent weaker at
5,960.62 on Monday. 
** Bourse fell 0.3 percent last week, and declined 1 percent in
January.
** But the turnover was 3.3 billion rupees ($18.57 million),
well above last year's daily average of 834 million rupees and
its highest since Dec 19.
** Foreign investors were net sellers of 1.2 billion rupees
worth shares on Monday. They have been net sellers of 4.6
billion rupees worth of stocks so far this year, and 17.95
billion rupees since the political crisis began on Oct. 26,
2018.
    
** For a report on global markets, click here            .
** For a report on major currencies, click       
($1 = 177.7000 Sri Lankan rupees)

 (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Rashmi
Aich)
  
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