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|11 February, 2019

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

The stock market closed slightly weaker, while foreign trading boosted the turnover

A vendor prepares Sri Lankan notes to bundle them at a shop in Colombo July 3, 2013.

A vendor prepares Sri Lankan notes to bundle them at a shop in Colombo July 3, 2013.

REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

COLOMBO  -  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.

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** 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.

(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Rashmi Aich) ((mailto:ranga.sirilal@thomsonreuters.com; +94-11-232-5540; Reuters Messaging: ranga.sirilal.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net ; www.twitter.com/rangaba))

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