Sri Lankan stocks hit new highs amid sovereign debt repayment

Jan 18 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan stocks closed at a record high on Tuesday on gains in energy and consumer stocks as the country paid a $500 million international sovereign bond.

* At the closing bell, the CSE All-Share Index (.CSE) was up 0.89% at 13,457.20. The index had gained up to 1.91% during the session.

* Conglomerates Expolanka Holdings Plc (EXPO.CM) and Vallibel One Plc (VALI.CM) were the main contributors to the index, closing up 2.6% and 10.4% respectively.

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* Sri Lanka’s central bank governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said in a tweet that the country had paid off a $500 million international sovereign bond that matured on Tuesday.

* The Indian High Commission in Colombo said India had offered a new $500 million line of credit to Sri Lanka to finance its fuel purchases. Read more

* Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said the country will introduce new laws to attract investment over the next 3 years, while export, tourism and remittance development policies will be accelerated.

* Rajapaksa also said a debilitating shortage of foreign exchange was inevitable in the country unless spending was well managed. In the remainder of 2022, Sri Lanka will have to repay debt worth $4 billion, with the next tranche of a $1 billion international sovereign bond maturing in July. Read more

* A Reuters poll of 13 economists predicted that Sri Lanka’s central bank could raise interest rates in its first policy announcement scheduled for Thursday. Read more

* Foreign investors were net buyers in the equity market, buying shares worth Rs 198.1 million, exchange data show.

* Stock market turnover was 7.11 billion rupees ($35.20 million).

* Trading volume increased slightly to 256.7 million shares from 252.6 million shares in the previous session.

* For a report on world markets, click on

($1 = 202.0000 Sri Lankan rupees)

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Reporting by Shivani Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni

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Tana T. Thorsen