December 4, 2019 / 11:59 AM / 11 days ago

Sri Lanka shares fall to near one-week low; rupee gains

COLOMBO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares dipped on Wednesday, weighed down by consumer staple companies and as foreign selling dented sentiment, while the rupee ended stronger.

** The Sri Lankan rupee rose 0.22% to 181.10/35 per dollar, compared to Tuesday’s close of 181.50/65, Refinitiv data showed. It is up 0.8% so far this year.

** The benchmark stock index closed down 0.14% at 6,214.99, its lowest since Nov. 28. The bourse gained 1.5% last week, and is up 2.54% for the year.

** The index touched its highest level since June 25, 2018 on Monday, lifted by hopes of booming economic activities after the new government last week cut some key taxes.

** Analysts said the recent tax reduction has already been factored in and the market was waiting to see the impacts of the new policy.

** The government reduced value-added tax to 8% from 15% from Dec. 1 on Nov. 27, and abolished some other taxes as well in its attempt to boost economic growth that has fallen to a near two-decade low.

** Emerging Asia Economics in a note on Monday said the tax cut decision would provide a significant boost to the economy, but put increased strain on the country’s fragile public finances with a possible loss of $2 billion in revenue.

** Foreign investors were sellers on Wednesday in the equity market for the 25th session out of last 28.

** They sold a net 176.9 million rupees ($982,778) worth of shares on Wednesday, extending the year-to-date foreign outflow to 10.8 billion rupees, according to index data.

** Equity market turnover was 824.6 million Sri Lankan rupees, more than this year’s daily average of about 726.4 million Sri Lankan rupees. Last year’s daily average was 834 million Sri Lankan rupees.

** Foreign investors were net buyers of government securities on a net basis for the sixth straight week, purchasing a net 4.3 billion Sri Lankan rupees worth of government securities in the week ended Nov. 27.

** Total foreign outflows from government securities through Nov. 27 stood at 43.7 billion Sri Lankan rupees, according to central bank data.

** For a report on global markets, click ** For a report on major currencies, click ($1 = 180.0000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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