COLOMBO, March 13 Sri Lankan shares hit a
five-week closing low on Monday on worries the country's central
bank would raise interest rates at a meeting next week after the
International Monetary Fund urged it to tighten monetary policy,
The Colombo stock index closed 0.23 percent down at
6,070.80, its lowest since Feb. 6. The index shed 0.27 percent
last week, posting its third straight weekly decline.
The IMF last week urged Sri Lanka's central bank to be ready
to tighten monetary policy if credit growth or inflation does
The banking regulator is expected to unveil its second
monetary policy of the year on March 24.
"The IMF statement on urging the central bank for a possible
rate hike has weighed on sentiment," said Hussain Gani, deputy
CEO at Softlogic Stockbrokers.
Shares of conglomerate John Keells Holding Plc fell
1 percent, while biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon
Plc ended 1.09 percent weaker.
Foreign investors net bought shares worth 61 million rupees
(about $403,041), a ninth straight session of purchases,
extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 2.18 billion
rupees worth of equities.
Turnover stood at 183.3 million rupees, the lowest since
Feb.1 and well below this year's daily average turnover of 679.6
Yields on treasury bills have risen to a more-than-four-year
high since October despite the central bank keeping key policy
($1 = 151.2500 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju