Lack of positive state feedback on IMF bailout hampers bourse

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

A lack of confirmation at the government’s end on the IMF bailout has dampened the CSE, resulting in the weakening of buying possibilities for investors, stock watchers said.

‘The CSE fell in mid-day trade yesterday on no positive feedback from the government side on the IMF’s US $2.9 billion bailout. Consequently, both indices moved downwards, reporting a low turnover level, an analyst said.

The All- Share Price Index fell by 147.8 points and S and P SL20 went down by 66.8 points. Turnover stood at Rs 1.26 billion with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in Melstacorp, which crossed 1.4 million shares to the tune of Rs 72.6 million, its shares traded at Rs 51 and CTC 79000 shares crossed for Rs 50.7 million, its shares fetching Rs 643.

In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Softlogic LIfe Insurance Rs 178 million (1.36 million shares traded), Softlogic Capital Rs 159 million (9.7 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 143 million (803,000 shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 98 million (524,000 shares traded), Melstacorp Rs 58.9 million (1.15 million shares traded), Aitken Spence Rs 45.1 million (300,000 shares traded) and Agstar PLC Rs 39.4 million (2.9 million shares traded). During the day 51.6 million share volumes changed hands in 13000 transactions.

Meanwhile, local bond yields opened higher on Monday, dealers said, while a guidance peg for interbank transactions remained steady.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2025 was quoted at 32.30/50 per cent, up from 32.20/50 from Friday’s close. A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 was quoted at 29.50/80 per cent, up from 29.40/60 per cent on Friday. A bond maturing on 01.05.2027 was quoted at 29.10/50, steady from Friday’s 29.20/50 per cent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank US dollar transactions remained unchanged at Rs. 361.92 against the US dollar. Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers at Rs. 370.35 on Monday, data showed.

Yesterday the Central Bank‘s dollar buying rate was Rs 359.46 and the selling rate Rs 369.95.

Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe said inflation is likely to come down below 10% by the end of 2023, which would also help to gradually bring down interest rates.

Outlining the rationale for not bringing down interest rates immediately, the Governor explained at a meeting recently that it was difficult to do so as measures taken in 2021 were impacting the economy adversely.

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