Sri Lanka rupee extends gains on dollar sales by bank; stocks steady

COLOMBO, Jan 18 (Reuters) - ** Sri Lanka's rupee
closed firmer for a second straight session on Friday, helped by
dollar selling by banks and after the IMF said it would resume
discussions with the island nation for further disbursal of part
of a $1.5 billion loan and the central bank chief said around $5
borrowing in the pipeline could help debt repayments.
** Sri Lanka will receive a loan of $1 billion from Bank of
China before the end of the January-March quarter,
Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy told Reuters on
Thursday, and is in discussions to borrow nearly $5 billion to
help the country meet repayments in the coming months.
** Sri Lanka is struggling to repay its foreign loans, with a
record $5.9 billion due this year including $2.6 billion in the
first three months.
** After a meeting with Sri Lanka's Finance Minister Mangala
Samaraweera, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on
Wednesday the discussions would resume in February, after a
political crisis led to talks being delayed by three months.
** The rupee ended at 181.50/65 per dollar on Friday, compared
with 181.60/75 in the previous session, with a foreign bank
selling dollars, market sources said. On Jan.3, the rupee fell
to an all-time low of 183.00 against the dollar.
** The rupee fell 19 percent in 2018, making it one of the
worst-performing currencies in Asia, according to Refinitiv
data, due to heavy foreign outflows.
** Coomaraswamy on Thursday said the sharp depreciation was a
powerful "pro-growth inducement" for the country's exports.
** The rupee has declined 4.7 percent since a political crisis
started in October. That crisis had dented investor sentiment
and delayed Sri Lanka's borrowing plans.
** A series of credit rating downgrades have made it harder for
Sri Lanka to borrow as it faces record high repayments.
** The Colombo Stock Index ended 0.02 percent weaker at
5,988.07 on Friday. The benchmark index lost 5 percent in 2018.
** Turnover was 660.8 million rupees ($3.64 million), less than
last year's daily average of 834 million rupees.
** Foreign investors sold a net 410.5 million rupees worth of
shares on Friday. They have been net sellers of 15.7 billion
rupees worth of stocks since a political crisis began on Oct.
26. The bond market saw outflows of 77.9 billion rupees between
Oct. 25 and Jan. 9, the latest central bank data showed.
** Foreign investors pulled a net 22.8 billion rupees out of
stocks last year, while they net sold 159.8 billion rupees from
government securities from January through Dec. 26, bourse and
central bank showed data.
** For a report on global markets, click here.
** For a report on major currencies, click
($1 = 181.4000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)


2019-01-18 13:44:19

© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.