February 13, 2019 / 12:18 PM / 6 days ago

Sri Lanka rupee ends weaker on high dollar demand from importers

    COLOMBO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - ** Sri Lanka's rupee         
ended tad weaker on Wednesday, as  importer dollar demand
surpassed the exporter greenback sales, market sources said.
** The stock market closed steady in dull trade with foreign
investors buying into the island nation's risky assets.
** The rupee, which touched 178.85 per dollar in early trade,
ended at 178.45/55, compared with Tuesday's close of 178.30/40,
market sources said.
** The local currency posted a weekly loss of 0.7 percent last
week due to importers' demand in the latter part of the week.
** It has risen 2.3 percent so far this year as exporters
converted dollars and foreign investors purchased government
securities amid stabilising investor confidence in Sri Lanka
after the country repaid a $1 billion sovereign bond in
mid-January.             
** 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.
** 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 Exchange index        ended steady at
5,930.47 on Wednesday, hovering near its lowest close since Nov.
23 hit in the previous session.
** The benchmark index fell 0.3 percent last week, and declined
about 1 percent in January.
** The turnover was 278.9 billion rupees ($1.56 billion), well
below last year's daily average of 834 million rupees.
** Foreign investors were net buyers of 83.4 million rupees
worth shares on Wednesday. But they have been net sellers of 4.7
billion rupees worth of stocks so far this year, and 18.1
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 = 178.4000 Sri Lankan rupees)

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