September 24, 2019 / 1:04 PM / a month ago

Sri Lankan rupee firms, stocks close at over two-month low

COLOMBO, Sept 24 (Reuters) - ** Sri Lanka’s rupee closed firmer for the first time in seven sessions on Tuesday, while equities closed at a two-month low, as investors waited for the ruling party to announce its candidate for the Nov. 16 election. ** The market has been waiting for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe-led United National Party (UNP) candidate and its policies, brokers and traders said. The opposition party had named a hard-line former defence chief as its presidential candidate.

** The rupee closed 0.14% firmer at 181.05/25 to the dollar, compared with Monday’s close of 181.30/70. The currency is up 0.86% for the year. ** Foreign outflows from government securities, which continued for a fifth straight week as of Sept. 18, may not see a respite till the end of parliament elections in 2020, some analysts said.

** The central bank does not release foreign flow numbers on a daily basis, but weekly data in the past four weeks has shown an outflow.

** Foreign investors sold government securities worth 545.9 million rupees in the week ended Sept. 18, data showed, extending the net foreign outflow so far this year to 54.9 billion rupees through Sept. 11, central bank data showed. ** The benchmark stock index ended down 0.57% at 5,743.54, their lowest close since July 23. So far this year, the stock index has dropped 5.1%. ** Equity market turnover was 260.9 million rupees ($1.44 million), less than half of this year’s daily average of about 667.5 million rupees so far. Last year’s daily average was 834 million. ** Foreign investors sold a net 98.5 million rupees worth of shares, extending the year-to-date outflows to 2.74 billion rupees worth of equities, according to index data. ** For a report on global markets, click ** For a report on major currencies, click ($1 = 181.0500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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