COLOMBO – Sri Lanka stocks slipped 3.12% on Monday (6) to its lowest close in near four weeks as both political and economic uncertainties dented investor sentiment, brokers said.
The market trading was halted a few minutes as the liquid index S&P SL20 slipped over 5%.
The All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed 3.12% or 251.16 points weaker at 7,803.61, its lowest close since May 12.
“There’s a bit of uncertainty as to the agreement on the 21st Amendment, budget and the IMF discussions. All those things are a bit dicey,” a top market analyst said.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has pledged to bring in 21st Amendment to the Constitution to empower the Parliament and reduce the power of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after some of Rajapaksa’s own decision decisions without any consultations are blamed to have pushed the country into economic crisis.
“We need to get all those on track. The market feels there is not sufficient communication on the IMF program while the global oil prices are moving up. There could be a fresh series of fuel hikes, thereby triggering fears of a commodity price increase again.”
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has already implemented a raft of tax hikes for imports while the country is also experiencing record-high fuel prices. He also raised the value-added tax (VAT) to 12% from 8% this week.
Though higher taxes are good for state finances and an IMF deal, they will however hit earnings.
The more liquid S&P SL20 index fell 4.10% or 108.61 points to 2,539.06.
Foreign investors bought a net Rs 49 million worth of shares on Monday. The market has witnessed a total foreign outflow of Rs 913 billion so far this year.
The market has so far lost 3.7% in June after gaining 6% in May. It lost 23% in April and 14.5% in March.
The market has lost 36% so far this year after being one of the world’s best stock markets with an 80% return last year when large volumes of money were printed.
The daily market turnover was Rs 1.4 billion, around a third of this year’s average daily turnover of Rs 3.8 billion.
Sri Lanka’s sovereign default has already led it to restricted/selective default rating by rating agencies and weighed on investor sentiment.
Investors are also concerned over the steep fall of the rupee from 200 to 370 levels so far in 2022.
All Share Price Index was mainly dragged down by LOLC Holdings, which fell 11.1% to Rs 522.5 a share.
Expolanka fell 8.6% to Rs 192.5 a share. Browns Investment sipped 9.4% to Rs 8.7 a share.