By Hiran H. Senewiratne
CSE investor sentiment was buoyed yesterday when Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong announced that the Chinese government was considering extending a two-pronged US$2.5 billion financial aid package to Sri Lanka. The equity market was also boosted by news that Sri Lanka is seeking IMF support for a bailout, equity analysts said.
“The Chinese government is considering $2.5 billion – $1 billion loan, $1.5 billion buyer credit,” Ambassador Qi said at a press conference in Colombo.
Under this loan, buyer credit is usually a loan from Exim Bank of China to purchase goods and services from the People’s Republic and has been used to finance infrastructure on the island in the past.
Amid these developments, both indices rose. The All-Share Price Index rose 67.9 points and S and P SL20 rose 29.8 points. The turnover amounted to Rs 1.1 billion without a single pass. In the retail market, the top seven companies that primarily contributed to revenue were; Expolanka Holdings Rs 194 million (752,000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 120.9 million (10.8 million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 79.8 million (4.5 million shares traded), JKH Rs 74.8 million (77,000 shares traded), Royal Ceramics Rs 47.5 million (953,000 shares traded), ACL Cables Rs 44.1 million (552,000 shares traded) and Hayleys Rs 40.3 million (407,000 shares traded ). During the day, 51.6 million volumes of shares changed hands in 14,000 transactions.
The level of CSE turnover and investor participation was low compared to the previous year. It is said that high net worth and involvement of institutional investors have been noted in Hayleys, Commercial Bank and JKH. Mixed interest was seen from Expolanka Holdings, LOLC Finance and LOLC Holdings, while retail interest was noted from Browns Investments, non-voting SMB Leasing and Dialog Axiata.
The transportation sector was the largest contributor to market revenue (due to Expolanka Holdings) and the food, beverage and tobacco sector was the second largest contributor to market revenue ( due to Browns Investments),
The Sri Lankan bond market remained dormant yesterday in lackluster trading, brokers said, while the rupee was listed at around 275 in no-bid bids.
Commercial banks were offering to sell dollars at 274.99 rupees by wire transfer and buy at 264.66 rupees on Friday.
On the secondary market, only one bond maturing on 01.08.2024 was quoted at 14.30/40% on Monday, against 14.18/28 the day before. Sri Lanka’s debt office is issuing 56.5 billion rupees which will be sold in a treasury bill auction to be held on Wednesday (23).
The 56.5 billion notes will be divided into 20 billion with a 3-month maturity, 15 billion with 6 months and 21.5 billion with 1 year.