Wednesday, 17 April 2019 05:45

Rupee edges down; stocks end tad firmer

Reuters: The Sri Lankan rupee closed a tad weaker on Tuesday, while stocks ended a tad firmer in thin trade after a long weekend.

The currency ended at 174.60/75 to the dollar, lower than Friday’s close of 174.45/55. The markets were closed on Monday for a public holiday in lieu of the traditional New Year, which fell on Sunday.

Traders expect lower trade in both currency and stock markets in the three-day week, as Friday is also being declared as a public holiday.

The island nation’s currency gained 0.26% last week, and 4.7% so far this year, as exporters converted dollars amid stabilising investor confidence after the country repaid a $1 billion sovereign bond in mid-January.

The rupee dropped 16% in 2018, and was one of the worst-performing currencies in Asia due to heavy foreign outflows. Foreign investors sold a net Rs. 2 billion worth of government securities in the week ended 10 April, the second weekly fall in six weeks, the latest Central Bank data showed.

The Colombo Stock Exchange index ended 0.1% firmer at 5,591.83.

The benchmark stock index fell 0.6% last week, recording its first weekly fall in three. The index has declined 7.6% so far this year.

Turnover came in at Rs. 173 million ($990,836.20), less than this year’s daily average of Rs. 605 million. Last year’s daily average came in at Rs. 834 million.

Foreign investors bought a net Rs. 31.4 million worth of shares on Tuesday, but the market has seen a year-to-date net foreign outflow of Rs. 6.04 billion worth of equities.

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