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Rupee falls on uncertainty amid foreign outflow; stocks at near 2-week low


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Reuters:  The rupee ended weaker on Thursday as outflows from Government securities and stocks due to political uncertainty raised dollar demand. 

Stocks fell for the fourth straight session, hitting its near two-week closing low and moving further away from their near two-month closing high hit last week, as the political crisis dented sentiment after the Speaker of Parliament said on Monday he would not recognise President Maithripala Sirisena’s sacking of Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister and appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place. 

Sri Lanka’s Parliamentary Speaker has called the President’s sacking of the Prime Minister to bring a former leader back to power a non-violent coup d’état. 

The rupee ended at 175.05/20 per dollar on Thursday, compared with the previous close of 174.80/175.10. The rupee has weakened more than 1% since the political crisis began on 26 October.

The rupee hit a record low of 175.65 per dollar on 1 November. 

The rupee weakened 3.7% in October after a 4.7% drop in September against the dollar. It has dropped 13.9% this year. Foreigners sold a net 405.8 million worth stocks on Thursday. They have offloaded equities worth Rs. 7.2 billion since the political crisis started on 26 October. 

The bond market saw an outflow of about Rs. 11 billion between 25 and 31 October, Central Bank data showed. This year, the island nation has seen Rs. 16.6 billion in outflows from stocks and Rs. 100.8 billion from Government securities, bourse and central bank data respectively showed. 

The Colombo stock index fell 0.95% to 5,930.59, its lowest close since 26 October. It hit a near two-month high on 1 November. The bourse rose 4.5% last week due to heavy retail investor participation. It has slipped 6.9% so far this year. 

Stock market turnover was Rs. 1.1 billion ($ 6.30 million) on Thursday, more than this year’s daily average of Rs. 818.4 million. 

Shares of Hatton National Bank PLC fell 3.5%, while, conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC ended 1.7% down, the country’s biggest listed lender, Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, declined 1.9% and Sri Lanka Telecom PLC lost 5.2%.


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