Sri Lanka rupee falls on fears of more attacks; stocks edge up

Credit: REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

COLOMBO, April 25 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee LKR=LK closed 0.1 percent weaker on Thursday as a bomb scare after the Easter Sunday attacks weighed on the currency, while stocks edged up for the second straight session after hitting a more than six-year low.

** Dollar-denominated bonds issued by Sri Lanka's government tumbled across the curve on Thursday following a fresh bomb scare in the wake of Easter Sunday bombings.

** Sri Lankan authorities locked down the central bank and shut the road leading to the jittery capital's airport as more people were swept up in the search for those behind the bombings that killed 359.

** Islamic State on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the coordinated bombings, the group's AMAQ news agency said.

** The currency ended at 175.00/50 to a dollar, 0.1 percent weaker than Wednesday's close of 174.90/20, Refinitiv data showed.

** Analysts fear it could weaken further due to outflows from stocks and government securities.

** The island nation's currency gained 0.3 percent last week, and 4.3 percent 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 percent in 2018, and was one of the worst-performing currencies in Asia due to heavy foreign outflows.

** Foreign investors sold a net 6.6 billion rupees worth of government securities in the week ended April 17, the third weekly fall in seven weeks, the latest central bank data showed.

** An explosion went off on Monday in a van near a church where scores were killed the previous day, when bomb squad officials were trying to defuse it, a Reuters witness said.

** The benchmark stock index .CSE ended 0.17 percent up on Thursday at 5,422.89, further moving away from its lowest close since Dec. 7, 2012 hit on Tuesday. On Tuesday, it suffered its worst percentage fall since Feb. 14, 2012. The exchange was closed on Monday following Sunday's attack.

** Turnover came in at 705.5 million Sri Lankan rupees ($4.03 million), more than this year's daily average of 608.9 million rupees. Last year's daily average was 834 million rupees.

** Foreign investors bought a net 286.5 million rupees worth of shares on Thursday, but they have been net sellers of 4.4 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year.

** The latest instability follows the island nation's plunge into political turmoil in October last year, when President Maithripala Sirisena abruptly removed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and then dissolved parliament. A court later ruled the move unconstitutional, and Wickremesinghe was reinstalled as premier.

** Investor sentiment took a big hit as a result of the 51-day political crisis, leading to credit rating downgrades and an outflow of foreign funds from government securities.

** For a report on global markets, click MKTS/GLOB

** For a report on major currencies, click FRX/

($1 = 175.0000 Sri Lankan rupees)

(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez, Editing by William Maclean)

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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