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Shares decline

Sri Lankan shares fell yesterday for a seventh straight day, closing at their lowest in six-and-a-half years, and the rupee slid for a second day, as the Easter attacks drove off investors.

Sri Lanka’s economic growth is projected to fall to its lowest in nearly two decades this year, a Reuters poll revealed. Tourism, foreign investment and overall business activity have all fallen after the bombings.

Turnover was LKR 152.8 million ($ 867,689), lower than this year’s daily average of around LKR 565 million. Last year’s daily average was LKR 834 million.

Foreign investors credited a net LKR 20 million worth of shares yesterday, but they have been net sellers of LKR 4.4 billion worth of equities so far this year.

Analysts believe the currency to fail further as money flows out of stocks and government securities.

Investor sentiment was hurt at the end of last year, when President Maithripala Sirisena rudely removed Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and then liquefied Parliament. A court later ruled the move unconstitutional, but the political chaos led to credit rating downgrades and an outflow of foreign funds.

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