The rupee closed 0.2% weaker on Friday as worries about more bomb attacks after the Easter Sunday attacks weighed, while stocks edged up for the third straight session after hitting a more than six-year low early in the week.
Sri Lankan Police are trying to track down 140 people believed linked to Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday suicide bombings of churches and hotels that killed 253 people, President Maithripala Sirisena said on Friday. The currency ended at 175.30/80 to a dollar, 0.2% weaker than Thursday’s close of 175.00/50, Refinitiv data showed.
Analysts fear it could weaken further due to outflows from stocks and Government securities.
Dollar-denominated bonds issued by the Government tumbled across the curve on Thursday following a fresh bomb scare.
The island’s currency lost 0.8% this week, but is 4.2% up 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. 268.2 million worth of Government securities in the week ended 24 April, the first net buying in four weeks, but they have sold a net Rs. 6.6 billion worth of securities so far this year, the latest Central Bank data showed.
The benchmark stock index ended 0.26% up on Friday at 5,437.06, further moving away from its lowest close since 7 December 2012 hit on Tuesday. On Tuesday, it suffered its worst percentage fall since 14 February 2012. The exchange was closed on Monday following Sunday’s attacks.
Turnover came in at Rs. 705.5 million ($4.03 million), more than this year’s daily average of Rs. 608.9 million. Last year’s daily average was Rs. 834 million.
Foreign investors sold a net Rs. 4.5 million worth of shares on Friday, extending the net selling so far this year to Rs. 4.4 billion worth of equities so far this year.