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Stock market remains under bear hug as key indices end lower

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

For the first time in the new year, the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) turned bearish on Monday due to macro concerns as well as profit taking. Trading was sluggish in the early part of yesterday, but it recovered moderately after witnessing some strong buying interest, stock market analysts said.The market commenced the week with a slowdown as the indices snapped their seven-day gaining streak due to a mix of profit-booking in heavyweights and pullback in stocks that recorded unwarranted gains over the last few weeks.

Further, Hunas Falls hotel announced a subdivision of its share. Its one share would be subdivided into a 150 ratio. Due to the announcement it’s share price appreciated by 50 percent or Rs 615. Its share price shot upto Rs 1856 from Rs 1240.

Amid those developments both indices showed a downward trend. All Share Price Index down by 37.42 points and S and P SL20 down by 18.5 points, Turnover stood at Rs 7.9 billion with three crossings. Those crossings were reported in LOLC Finance, which crossed 32 million shares to the tune of Rs 896 million and its share price traded at Rs 28, JKH 270,000 shares crossed for Rs 26.6 million and its share price traded at Rs 156.50 and Hayleys 142,000 shares crossed for Rs 20 million and its share price traded at Rs 141.

In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were Expolanka Holdings Rs 726 million (1.9 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 682 million (39.8 million shares traded), Sunshine Holdings Rs 549 million (8.2 million shares traded), Vallible One  Rs 456 million (five million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 398 million (18.6 million shares traded), Softlogic Life Insurance Rs 292 million (305 million shares traded) and Hayleys Rs 472 million (1.9 million shares traded). During the day 357 million share volume changed hands in 54000 transactions.High net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in LOLC Holdings, Lanka Orix Finance and Softlogic Holdings. Mixed interest was observed in Sunshine Holdings, Expolanka Holdings and Vallibel One, whilst retail interest was noted in Browns Investments, SMB Leasing non-voting and Amana Bank.



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Seven factors of concern at upcoming Monetary Policy Review

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is scheduled to announce its latest monetary policy review on 20th January 2022, with all eyes on dwindling foreign reserves and foreign currency exchange in the country.

In this context, First Capital Research has named 7 factors of concern that could be taken into account at the upcoming monetary policy review. They are as follows.

* Foreign Reserves USD 3.1 billion – Dec 2021

* Inflation CCPI 12.1% – Dec 2021

* GDP Growth -1.5% – 3Q2021

* Private Credit LKR 60.5 billion – Nov 2021

* 03M T-Bill rate 8.38% as at 12.01.22

Liquidity and CBSL Holdings LKR -364.0 billion and LKR 1.42 trillion

Balance of Trade (BOT) and Balance of Payment (BOP) USD -6.5 billion and USD -3.3 billion for Jan-Oct 21

First Capital Research’s Policy Rate Forecast – Jan 2022-Apr 2022 notes that they believe the CBSL may highly consider tightening the monetary policy rates in this policy review but given the concerns over economic growth, there is a probability of 40% for CBSL to maintain its policy stance at current levels.

“With high frequent indicators improving in line with expectations, we have eliminated any probability of a rate cut. We expect a continued increase in probability for a rate hike in order to prevent overheating of the economy amidst the given fiscal and monetary stimulus,” they said.

As per First Capital’s view, CBSL either can choose to hike policy rates by 50bps or 100bps or hold policy rates steady, while a rate cut is off the table due to the high debt repayment and the high domestic borrowing requirement.

First Capital believes that there is a 60% probability for a rate hike due to the remedial actions required in achieving external stability.

However, there is also a 40% probability to maintain the policy rates at its current level in order to further improve the high frequency indicators.30%, they noted.

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Sri Lanka’s dash brand enters international markets

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Multichemi International Ltd, which manufactures and distributes a wide range of products under dash, one of Sri Lanka’s leading detergent and household care brands, has begun exporting its products to several international markets in Asia and Oceania, with plans also to enter Africa. The dash brand includes a wide range of products in car care, household care, home fragrances and laundry care sectors. Multichemi International Ltd, which has been awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification, is a Sri Lankan pioneer in environment-friendly cleaning products, having launched the country’s first biodegradable, safe cleaning products over 28 years ago.

Amila Wijesinghe, General Manager of the Company said,”Having conquered the domestic market, we are now ready to capture the international market. We are confident that our products which are of high quality will receive a good demand overseas as well. The feedback we have received so far from our overseas customers is extremely encouraging. We are dedicated to taking our products to the international market, to bring in foreign currency to the country and help uplift the economy”,

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Janaka Abeysinghe appointed SLT CEO

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Sri Lanka Telecom PLC has announced the appointment of Janaka Abeysinghe as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from February 1, 2022.

The incumbent CEO Kiththi Perera will be overseas on leave for a period of two years to pursue higher studies, according to a stock market filing by the company.

Abeysinghe joined SLT in 1991. In his present role, he leads the enterprise and wholesale business of SLT that provides integrated voice and data solutions to enterprises, government institutions, domestic telco operators and global wholesale carriers.

In his career at SLT spanning 29 years, he has held a number of senior positions, including general manager Enterprise and International Sales and has extensive experience in the areas of Enterprise Digital Services, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Data Communications, Business Development, Domestic and International Switching Operations and Global Wholesale Voice & Data Business.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Kansas, USA and a BSc degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering with a First Class Honours from the University of Moratuwa.

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