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09 February, 2016 08:50 AM Source: Financial Times - Sri Lanka
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Reuters: Shares edged down in thin trade to a one-week low on Monday as global economic woes dented sentiment and investors looked for macroeconomic cues after the International Monetary Fund said the country’s 2016 fiscal deficit could widen further.

The IMF on Friday urged Sri Lanka to take steps to reduce its fiscal deficit and raise tax revenues to help improve its balance of payments.

The statement raises concerns over possible hikes in interest rates and taxes which might dent market sentiment further, analysts said, adding an IMF loan would help instill confidence among foreign investors in the long run.

The main stock index ended 0.05% weaker at 6,401.66, its lowest close since 1 February.

“Market is struggling with lack of buying pressure,” said First Capital Equities Ltd. Research Manager Dimantha Mathew, “People are not investing, mainly because of the economic concerns, and interest rates are also on the rise.”

Turnover was Rs. 389.4 million ($2.72 million), less than half this year’s daily average of Rs. 810.2 million.

The index has fallen 7.1% this year through Monday as foreign investors, unnerved by global concerns over China’s economy, cut their exposure.

Concerns over sluggish economic growth in China, likely interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve and falling oil prices have forced some investors to sell risky assets.

Foreign investors sold a net Rs. 18.3 million worth of shares on Monday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to Rs. 277.6 million.

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