COLOMBO May 26 Sri Lanka stocks edged up in
thin trade on Monday from a two-week low hit in the previous
session led by Sri Lanka Telecom PLC, but turnover
slumped to its lowest in two months.
The main stock index ended 0.20 percent, or 12.71
points, firmer at 6,293.02, edging up from its lowest close
since May 8 hit on Friday.
The day's turnover slumped to its lowest since March 24,
bourse data showed. It stood at 291.3 million rupees, well below
this year's daily average of 1.02 billion.
Stockbrokers said the low turnover was due to sluggish
foreign participation owing to holidays in the United States and
The bourse saw a net foreign inflow of 46.04 million rupees
($353,100) on Monday, extending year-to-date net foreign inflow
to 1.83 billion rupees.
Stockbrokers expect the market to gain in the near future
due to lower interest rates after the central bank kept key
rates at multi-year lows on Tuesday for the fourth straight
month, as expected.
Shares of Sri Lanka Telecom PLC rose 1.46 percent
to 48.80 rupees, pushing up the overall index.
The market has been on a rising trend since mid-March as
many investors were compelled to return to the stock market
because low interest rates have made fixed-income assets less
attractive, stockbrokers said.
However, analysts have raised concerns over sluggish
economic growth due to lower credit growth and consumer
Despite a multi-year low interest rate regime, data showed
private sector credit grew 4.3 percent in March from a year
earlier, the slowest expansion since May 2010.
The latest trade data, released on Monday, showed imports
have gained 8.2 percent in March, while exports hit a record
high of $1.07 billion helping to narrow the March trade deficit
by 15.5 percent compared to a year ago.
Central bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal on May 19 said
Sri Lanka's private sector credit growth would pick up to around
15 percent by the end of this year and continue to improve
($1 = 130.4000 Sri Lanka rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil