Sri Lanka rupee falls on foreign fund outflow

COLOMBO Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:29am EDT

COLOMBO Aug 20 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee fell on Wednesday due to heavy dollar demand from banks to facilitate foreign selling in shares by a U.S.-based fund, though moral suasion by the central bank capped the depreciation.

The rupee was at 130.18/22 per dollar at 0647 GMT after declining to 130.22 earlier in the day. It had closed at 130.13/14 on Tuesday.

U.S.-based fund Janus sold shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc, resulting in a net foreign outflow of 4.52 billion rupees ($34.73 million), the worst net foreign selling on the Colombo bourse since March 25, 2010.

"Rupee is weaker, but the central bank's moral suasion prevented heavy depreciation," said a currency dealer asking not to be named.

Three other dealers confirmed the central bank's move. Central bank officials were not immediately available for comments.

Sri Lanka's main stock index was up 0.41 percent, or 28.86 points, at 7,010.32 at 0650 GMT, hovering near its highest level since Sept. 12, 2011.

Turnover was 879 million rupees ($6.75 million) with 114.2 million shares changing hands. (1 US dollar = 130.1500 Sri Lankan rupee) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez)

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