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Sri Lanka rupee, stock market both firm slightly

 COLOMBO, Oct 2 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee closed
slightly firmer on Thursday after hitting an eight-month low in
the last session and the stock market rose marginally on
bargain-hunting, trader said.
 The rupee LKR= closed slightly up at 108.00/10 per dollar
from Tuesday's close of 108.10/20. The currency and stock
markets were closed on Wednesday for the Ramazan Festival
holiday.
 "The rupee came down when a state bank offered at 108.
Probably it must be intervention as Central Bank has been
collecting dollars and now they must be pumping them to settle
the rupee," said a currency dealer asking not to be named.
 On Tuesday, the rupee closed at 108.10/20 after touching
108.50 per dollar in the session, its lowest since Jan. 7.
 The Central Bank on Thursday sold T-bonds at the same rate
of 19.33 percent for a 21-month, 19.22 percent for a 32-month
and 19.09 percent a 45-month. See [ID:nCOL347622] and
[ID:nCOL354223].
 Sales at those rates on Monday had hastened the rupee's
fall, dealers had said. But the currency market ignored that
today, traders said.
 The Colombo All-Share index .CSE rose 0.3 percent or 6.35
points to 2,148.61, recovering from a 16th fall in 17 sessions.
The bourse hit 2,145.23 on Aug. 25, 2006.
 The bourse fell 11 percent in September alone, and is down
around 16 percent so far this year.
 "The market picked up slightly on retail buying across the
market as the prices have came down during recent sessions,"
said Vajira Premawardhana, head of research at Lanka Orix
Securities.
 Leading fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom SLTL.CM
rose 1.2 percent to 42 rupees a share, calculated on a weighted
average while conglomerate John Keells Holdings JKH.CM closed
0.58 percent firmer at 87 rupees.
 Listed top private lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon
COMB.CM up 1.75 percent to 104 rupees a share.No.1 mobile
phone operator Dialog Telekom DIAL.CM ended flat at 8.00
rupees.
 Market turnover was 84.85 million Sri Lankan rupees
($786,000), well below last year's daily average of 400 million
rupees.
 The interbank lending rate or call money rate CLIBOR rose
to 19.286 percent, up from Tuesday's 19.278 percent.
 Government data showed annual average inflation rose to
23.2 percent in September from 22.6 percent in August, to its
highest level on a new index that dates back to 2002.
 However, consumer price inflation eased year-on-year to
24.3 percent this month from 24.9 percent in August. In June,
it had hit a record on the current index of 28.2 percent due to
soaring food and oil prices.
 It was the third straight slowdown in consumer price growth
since last December, data from the Department of Census and
Statistics showed. The latest index was introduced in December.
See [ID:nCOL355352].
 (Editing by Bryson Hull)


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