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Rupee ends weaker; stocks hit near 5-year low on foreign selling

Rupee ends weaker; stocks hit near 5-year low on foreign selling

Reuters: The rupee ended 0.7% 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 hit on Tuesday, due to foreign selling in Government securities and exporter greenback sales, market sources said.

The Central Bank surprised financial markets on 2 October by leaving its key policy rates unchanged, despite heavy pressure on the rupee and foreign outflows from Government securities.

The Central Bank said on 2 October it purchased four 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% so far this month after a 4.7% drop in September against the dollar. It has declined 10.9% so far this year.

The Colombo stock index fell 0.7% to 5,774.37, its lowest close since 3 December 2013. It fell 3.6% last month and is down 9.3% so far this year.

Data from the Central Bank showed foreign investors sold Government securities worth a net Rs. 6.3 billion ($37.04 million) in the week ended 10 October. Sri Lanka has seen a net outflow of Rs. 80.6 billion in securities so far this year.

Stock market turnover was Rs. 1.99 billion ($11.70 million) on Monday, its highest since 7 August and more than twice this year’s daily average of Rs. 771.5 million.

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

Shares in Hatton National Bank Plc ended 3.8% weaker while Lion Brewery Plc fell 4.8%, Carson Cumberbatch Plc lost 5.0%, Sampath Bank Plc closed 2.7% lower and conglomerate John Keells Holdings shed 1.6%.

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