October 16, 2018 / 11:12 AM / 9 months ago

Sri Lankan rupee ends weaker; stocks edge up from near 5-yr low

COLOMBO, Oct 16 (Reuters) - ** The Sri Lankan rupee ended 0.2 percent weaker on Tuesday as banks and importers bought the dollar while stocks ended a five-session losing streak, pulling away from previous session’s near five-year closing low.

** The rupee ended at 170.90/171.10 per dollar, compared with its previous close of 170.60/75. ** The rupee had fallen to an all-time low of 171.60 per dollar on Wednesday, surpassing the previous trough of 171.00 hit on Tuesday, due to foreign selling in government securities and exporter greenback sales, market sources said. ** The central bank surprised financial markets on October 2 by leaving its key policy rates unchanged, despite heavy pressure on the rupee and foreign outflows from government securities. ** The central bank said on October 2 it purchased 4 million dollars from the market in the previous day, but it has sold a net 184 million dollars in the market so far this year to defend the currency.

** The rupee has weakened 1.01 percent so far this month after a 4.7 percent drop in September against the dollar. It has declined 11.3 percent so far this year.

** The Colombo stock index rose 0.37 percent to 5,796.02, edging up from its lowest close since Dec. 3, 2013 hit on Monday. It fell 3.6 percent last month and is down 9.0 percent so far this year.

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** Data from the central bank showed foreign investors sold government securities worth a net 6.3 billion rupees ($37.04 million) in the week ended October 10. Sri Lanka has seen a net outflow of 80.6 billion rupees in securities so far this year.

** Stock market turnover was 1.6 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($9.37 million) on Tuesday, more than twice this year’s daily average of 775.7 million rupees.

** Foreign investors were net sellers of 499.9 million rupees worth of shares on Tuesday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 8.8 billion rupees worth of equities. ($1 = 170.7000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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