November 12, 2018 / 1:54 PM / 10 months ago

Sri Lankan rupee hits record low, dlr bonds plummet after parliament suspension

COLOMBO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - ** The Sri Lankan rupee fell to a record low of 175.90 to the U.S. dollar on Monday, as political uncertainty triggered by President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to dissolve parliament weighed on sentiment and also dragged bonds lower, market sources said.

** Stocks closed a touch firmer led by market heavyweight John Keells Holdings after the top conglomerate announced a share buyback.

** Parliament was dissolved on Friday, two weeks after Sirisena’s sacking of Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and the appointment of pro-China former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place.

** The rupee ended at 175.60/75 per dollar on Monday, compared with the previous close of 175.10/30. It has weakened more than 1.4 percent since the political crisis began on Oct. 26 and more than 14.4 percent so far this year.

** Foreigners bought a net 81 million worth stocks on Monday, but have offloaded equities worth 7.7 billion rupees since the political crisis started on Oct. 26.

** The island nation’s dollar-denominated bonds also fell on Monday, with the 2020 issue falling as much as 2.7 cents to 94.98 cents, its lowest level since at least January 2017, with bid yields soaring to record levels of more than 9 percent, according to Refinitiv Eikon data. ** The bond market saw outflows of about 21 billion rupees between Oct. 25 and Nov. 7, central bank data showed. This year, there have been 17.2 billion rupees of outflows from stocks and 110.8 billion rupees from government securities, bourse and central bank data respectively showed. ** The Colombo stock index rose 0.04 percent to 5,980.94 after falling 1.9 percent last week. Heavy retail investor buying had however lifted it 4.5 percent in the week prior to that. It has slipped over 6 percent so far this year. ** For a report on global markets, click here and for a report on major currencies, click ** Stock market turnover was 424.7 million rupees on Monday, around half of this year’s daily average of 820 million rupees.

$1 = 175.6000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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