The downtrend witnessed following the budget speech on 20th November continued through to the month of December to ultimately hit a near 37 week-low at 6,803.08 points on 14th December.
Continuous changes in the budget proposals by the coalition Government in an effort to satisfy all stakeholders kept the investors wandering for a direction regarding the Sri Lankan capital market. The benchmark ASPI lost 14.65 points (-0.21% MoM), while S&P SL20 index lost 32 points (-0.87% MoM) to close at 6,894.50 and 3,625.69 points respectively.
The negotiated deal that took place on ASIR which accounted for 27.87% of its voting rights was the highlight trade of the month, contributing LKR 7.82bn (~38%) to the cumulative market turnover. The transaction occurred between Actis Investment Holdings SL Ltd and Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith TPG Growth III SF Pte Ltd, with the latter being the buyer.
The stock closed LKR 1.00 (-4% MoM) lower at LKR 24. Blue chips JKH and COMB contributed ~12% and ~9% respectively to the cumulative market turnover, securing the top turnover rankings, following ASIR. Block deals represented ~67% of JKH’s turnover, while COMB was more actively traded in the market during the month with only ~16% of its cumulative turnover being pre negotiated.
Cumulative turnover recorded at LKR 20.49bn for the month of December with 883mn shares changing hands via 61,973 trades. The average daily turnover recorded at LKR 976mn (+37.4% MoM). Block deals accounted for ~66% of the total market turnover.
The IT sector emerged as the top gainer for December (+2.52% MoM), followed by the Footwear & Textiles sector (+2.46% MoM). Foreign investors emerged as net sellers for the month with a cumulative net foreign outflow of LKR 657mn.
Inflation as measured by the change in the Colombo Consumer’s Price Index rose slightly by 0.3% MoM. The core inflation remained unchanged on a MoM basis, however, growing 4.5% on a yearly basis. The annual average remained unchanged at 0.9%. The monthly increase in CCPI was majorly caused by the post budget increases in food related prices, while non food related prices deflated slightly.
Tourist arrivals in the month of December increased 15.4% YoY to 206,114. Western Europe recorded the highest number of arrivals amounting to 62,528 with a growth of 11.9% YoY. However, arrivals from Middle East (including Israel and Saudi Arabia) posted the highest growth of 74.4% YoY to 7,171 during the month. Arrivals from China posted a growth of 52.3% YoY to 15,843 followed by India which recorded a growth of 35.5% YoY to 35,437. On the other hand, arrivals from Russia continued to dip during the month posting a decline of 20.7% YoY. Overall tourist arrivals during the year 2015 amounted to 1,798,380 posting a growth of an impressive 46.4% YoY.