FIRST CAPITAL’S HEAD OF RESEARCH, DIMANTHA MATHEW, SPEAKS TO REUTERS
Sri Lankan shares fell on Tuesday for the third straight session to end at a near eight-month low as foreign investors trimmed their exposure to the island nation’s risky assets amid concerns over budget tax proposals.
The Colombo stock index ended 0.11 percent down at 6,231.87, its lowest close since April 7. The bourse lost 1.17 percent last week, marking its third straight weekly fall.
A proposed hike in various taxes and fees would reduce disposable income and challenge consumption-led growth, analysts said.
“Investors are concerned over the current uncertainty and they are worried over the sustainability of the rates given the current economic uncertainty,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.
The government aims to boost its 2017 tax revenue by 27 percent to 1.82 trillion rupees year-on-year and meet a commitment given to the International Monetary Fund in return for a $1.5 billion loan in May. The market shrugged off the central bank’s key monetary policy decision on Tuesday to keep rates unchanged. Brokers said investors are concerned about the sustainability of the rates.
At the post-monetary policy media briefing, central bank Governor Indrajith Coomaraswamy said aggressive monetary policy tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve will have an impact on the foreign outflow. Turnover was 1.01 billion rupees ($6.78 million), more than this year’s daily average of 695.1 million rupees.
Foreign investors sold a net 295.8 million rupees worth of shares on Tuesday, extending the year-to-date net foreign selling to 1.68 billion rupees.
Shares of Dialog Axiata Plc fell 0.98 percent while Asiri Hospitals Plc fell 0.77 percent.
($1 = 149.0000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan)