November 13, 2018 / 2:52 PM / a month ago

Sri Lankan rupee hits record low amid political uncertainty

COLOMBO, Nov 13 (Reuters) - ** The Sri Lankan rupee fell to a record low of 176.15 to the U.S. dollar on Tuesday, surpassing the 175.90 hit in the previous session, amid political uncertainty triggered by President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to dissolve parliament.

** Stocks closed higher, led by John Keells Holdings, a day after the conglomerate announced a share buyback.

** Parliament was dissolved on Friday, two weeks after Sirisena sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and appointed former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place.

** However, after the market closed, the Supreme Court stayed Sirisena’s decision to dissolve parliament until next month in a further twist in the country’s political crisis.

** The rupee ended at 176.05/30 per dollar on Tuesday, compared with the previous close of 175.60/75. It has weakened more than 1.7 percent since the political crisis began on Oct. 26 and more than 14.7 percent so far this year.

** Foreigners bought a net 53.8 million worth stocks on Tuesday, but have offloaded equities worth 7.7 billion rupees since the political crisis started on Oct. 26.

** The bond market saw outflows of about 21 billion rupees between Oct. 25 and Nov. 7, central bank data showed. This year, there have been 17.2 billion rupees of outflows from stocks and 110.8 billion rupees from government securities, bourse and central bank data showed. ** The Colombo stock index rose 0.21 percent to 5,993.54 after falling 1.9 percent last week. Heavy retail investor buying had lifted it 4.5 percent in the week befoe. It has slipped over 6 percent so far this year. ** For a report on global markets, click here. For a report on major currencies, click ** Stock market turnover was 6.7 billion rupees ($38.09 million) on Tuesday, well above this year’s daily average of 846.9 million rupees.

$1 = 175.9000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez

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