Nov 17, Colombo: Reaching another milestone this year, Sri Lanka's bourse, Colombo Stock Exchange last week recorded the highest ever inflow of foreign investment into the equity secondary market.
Foreign purchases in 2014 as at 14th November was Rs. 95.084 billion surpassing the previous highest foreign purchases of Rs.92.425 billion recorded in 2010.
The CSE in association with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) initiated a strategy to attract foreign investors to the market, over the past two years.
The strategy to conduct road shows in overseas locations has been successful in attracting foreign institutional investors to invest in the Lankan Capital Market, according to the CSE. These Forums have generated wide interest amongst international Fund managers and generated tangible results in the form of investments in equity and debt.
The "Invest Sri Lanka" Investor Forums were held in Mumbai, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, London and New York and the purchases originating from these countries account for 60.3 per-cent of overall foreign purchases within 2014. The CSE also attracted new foreign entrants to the market, in 2014, from locations where these Investor Forums were hosted and they accounted for 44.4%.
Chairman of the CSE Mr. Vajira Kulatilaka said the market has been on an upward trajectory in the past year and this has been a steady progressive improvement.
CEO of the CSE Mr. Rajeeva Bandaranaike said it is evident from the institutional and high-net worth investors who visited Sri Lanka and met with listed companies, during the Capital Market Conference CSE hosted in October, that the Sri Lankan Capital Market is gaining attention and proving to be an attractive investment destination for those looking at emerging and frontier markets.
The net foreign flow from each of the countries, where foreign investor forums were held, have shown a positive increase and new investors have been attracted to the market from each location.
Net foreign flow from India during January-October period amounted to Rs. 242.5 million as opposed to the outflow of Rs. 106.7 million in 2013.
Similarly a turnaround was witnessed from the United Arab Emirates investors with the negative foreign flow in 2013 transforming into a positive foreign flow of Rs. 4.8 million this year.
Net foreign flow from Hong Kong also recorded a positive Rs. 19.3 million this year against the negative inflow of Rs. 175.0 million last year.
During the first ten months of this year, Singapore invested Rs. 5.264 billion while in 2013 the bourse recorded a Rs. 2.054 outflow.
Investors from the United Kingdom showed a remarkable interest in the market with the positive inflow from 2013 showing a phenomenal increase in 2014 recording Rs. 4.622 billion as opposed to the Rs. 101 million last year.
Contribution to the market from the United States showed a noteworthy increase of Rs. 1.844 billion in the past two months following the "Invest Sri Lanka - Investor Forum" in New York although a net foreign outflow of Rs. 5.7178 billion was recorded during January to September 2014.
"It is only in the past 18 months that we have put serious capital to work and that is why I would say now is an excellent time to invest in Sri Lanka," Mr. Gordon Fraser, a Fund Manager, Member of the Emerging Markets Specialists Team, Blackrock said, during the Investor Forum in London this May.