COLOMBO, Sept 18 (Reuters) - ** Sri Lanka’s rupee closed weaker on Wednesday on continued demand for dollars from banks. Foreign outflows from government securities also weighed on the currency. Equities fell for the second straight session. ** The rupee closed down 0.1% at 180.70/80 to the dollar, compared with Tuesday’s close of 180.55/65. The currency is up 1.05% this year. ** Analysts said foreign outflows from government securities have shown a declining trend and the market is now waiting for foreign investors to reverse the selling trend.
** The central bank does not release foreign flow data on a daily basis, but weekly data in the past four weeks has shown an outflow.
** Foreign investors sold government securities worth 598.9 million rupees in the week ended Sept. 11 for a fourth straight week, data showed, extending the net foreign outflow so far this year to 54.3 billion rupees through Sept. 11, central bank data showed. ** The benchmark stock index ended down 0.06% at 5,807.51. It was up 0.47% for last week. ** Investors have been in a wait-and-watch mode since the main opposition party named a hard-line former defence chief as its presidential candidate. ** So far this year, the stock index has dropped about 4.05%. ** Equity market turnover was 709.6 million rupees ($3.92 million), more than this year’s daily average of about 671.8 million rupees so far. Last year’s daily average was 834 million. ** Foreign investors sold a net 204.5 million rupees worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 2.49 billion rupees worth of equities, according to index data. ** For a report on global markets, click ** For a report on major currencies, click ($1 = 180.8000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez, editing by Larry King)