October 3, 2018 / 11:58 AM / 8 months ago

Sri Lanka rupee hit all time low; stocks recover from near 6-yr closing low

COLOMBO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - ** The Sri Lankan rupee hit a fresh low on Wednesday due to dollar demand from importers and foreign banks amid outflows from government securities, while stocks ended marginally firmer erasing early losses.

** On Wednesday, the rupee touched its all-time low of 169.90 per dollar surpassing its previous low of 169.40 hit on Friday on importer demand for the greenback and foreign selling in government securities, market sources said. ** Sri Lanka’s central bank surprised financial markets on Tuesday by leaving its key policy rates unchanged, despite heavy pressure on the rupee currency and foreign outflows from government securities. ** The central bank on Tuesday said it purchased 4 million dollars from the market on the previous day, but it has sold a net 184 million dollars to the market so far this year to defend the currency.

** The rupee ended at 169.80/90 per dollar, compared with the previous close of 169.20/45.

** The rupee weakened 0.4 percent so far this month after it fell 4.7 percent in September against the dollar and 1.2 percent drop in the previous month. It has declined 10.63 percent so far this year.

** The Colombo stock index ended 0.1 percent firmer at 5,813.83 erasing early losses to edge up from its lowest close since Dec. 13, 2013 hit on Tuesday. The bourse fell 3.6 percent last month and is down 8.7 percent so far this year.

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** Data from the central bank showed foreign investors sold government securities worth a net 10.2 billion rupees ($60.36 million) in the week ended Sept. 26, the highest since the week to Dec. 6. Sri Lanka has seen a net outflow of 72.5 billion rupees in securities so far this year.

** Stock market turnover was 788.3 million rupees ($4.65 million) on Wednesday, inline with this year’s daily average of 782.3 million rupees.

** Foreign investors sold a net 1.5 million rupees worth of shares on Wednesday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 6.01 billion rupees worth of equities. ($1 = 169.6000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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