October 19, 2018 / 12:41 PM / a month ago

Sri Lankan rupee hits record low, stocks settle near 5-yr closing trough

COLOMBO, Oct 19 (Reuters) - ** The Sri Lankan rupee fell to a record low of 171.80 per dollar on Friday as banks and importers bought the U.S. dollar, while stocks slid to a near five-year closing low in dull trade.

** The rupee dropped to an all-time low of 171.80 per dollar, surpassing its previous low of 171.60 hit on Oct. 10, due to foreign selling in government securities and importer demand for the greenback, market sources said.

** The rupee ended at 171.60/80 per dollar, compared with its previous close of 171.30/45.

** The Central Bank on Wednesday said it has secured a 1 billion dollar eight-year loan from China Development Bank.

** The central bank surprised financial markets on Oct. 2 by leaving its key policy rates unchanged despite heavy pressure on the rupee and foreign outflows from government securities.

** The rupee has weakened 1.2 percent so far this month after a 4.7 percent drop in September against the dollar. It has declined 11.5 percent so far this year.

** The Colombo stock index fell 0.30 percent to 5,761.09 points, its lowest close since Nov. 28, 2013. It shed 3.6 percent last month and is down 9.6 percent so far this year.

** For a report on global markets, click here and for a report on major currencies, click

** Data from the central bank showed foreign investors sold government securities worth a net 6.3 billion rupees ($37.04 million) in the week ended October 10. Sri Lanka has seen a net outflow of 80.6 billion rupees in securities so far this year.

** Stock market turnover was 204.2 million rupees ($887,200) on Thursday, nearly a quarter of this year’s daily average of 767.8 million rupees.

** Foreign investors were net sellers of 8.1 million rupees worth of shares on Friday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 9 billion rupees worth of equities. ($1 = 171.1 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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