October 15, 2018 / 12:19 PM / a month ago

Sri Lankan rupee ends weaker; stocks hit near 5-yr low on foreign selling

COLOMBO, Oct 15 (Reuters) - ** The Sri Lankan rupee ended 0.7 percent weaker on Monday as banks and importers bought the dollar and as stocks declined for a fifth straight session, hitting a near five-year closing low on continued foreign fund outflow.

** The rupee ended at 170.60/75 per dollar, compared with the previous close of 169.40/70. ** The rupee fell to an all-time low of 171.60 per dollar on Wednesday, surpassing the previous low 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 0.7 percent so far this month after a 4.7 percent drop in September against the dollar. It has declined 10.9 percent so far this year.

** The Colombo stock index fell 0.7 percent to 5,774.37, its lowest close since Dec. 3, 2013. It fell 3.6 percent last month and is down 9.3 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 1.99 billion rupees ($11.70 million) on Monday, its highest since August 7 and more than twice this year’s daily average of 771.5 million rupees.

** Foreign investors were net sellers of 1.7 billion rupees worth of shares on Monday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 8.3 billion rupees worth of equities.

** Shares in Hatton National Bank Plc ended 3.8 percent weaker while Lion Brewery Plc fell 4.8 percent, Carson Cumberbatch Plc lost 5.0 percent, Sampath Bank Plc closed 2.7 percent lower and conglomerate John Keells Holdings shed 1.6 percent. ($1 = 170.1000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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