Sri Lanka rupee, stocks rise after IMF statement

COLOMBO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - ** Sri Lanka's rupee
and shares closed firmer on Thursday, a day after the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it would resume
discussions with the island nation for further disbursal of part
of a $1.5 billion loan.
** After a meeting with Sri Lanka's Finance Minister Mangala
Samaraweera, the global lender said the discussions would resume
in February, after a political crisis led to talks being delayed
by three months.
** The rupee ended at 181.60/75 per dollar on Thursday, compared
with 182.30/40 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.
** Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy on Thursday said
the sharp depreciation was a powerful "pro-growth inducement"
for the country's exports.
** The rupee has declined about 5 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 of $5.9
billion this year, with $2.6 billion of it due in the first
three months.
** Sri Lanka will receive a loan of $1 billion from Bank of
China before the end of the March quarter, the chief
of the central bank said on Thursday, to help the country meet
repayments in the coming months.
** The central bank on Jan.9 said that the Reserve Bank of India
(RBI) had agreed to provide $400 million to it under a regional
swap facility and it had also requested a further bilateral swap
arrangements of $1 billion.
** The Colombo Stock Index ended 0.26 percent firmer at
5,989.12 on Thursday. The benchmark index lost 5 percent in
** Turnover was 341.7 million rupees, less than half of last
year's daily average of 834 million rupees.
** Foreign investors sold a net 7.2 million rupees worth of
shares on Thursday. They have been net sellers of 15.3 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.
** Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena appointed a cabinet
of ministers from his rival party on Dec. 21 after he was forced
to reinstate Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister, 51 days
after he was sacked.
** For a report on global markets, click here.
** For a report on major currencies, click
(Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)

2019-01-17 14:41:30

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