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Sri Lankan shares close at five-year high on consumer staples boost

Jan 4 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended 1.8% higher on Monday, closing at a more than five-year high, driven by gains in consumer staples and industrial stocks.

* The CSE All Share Index ended up 1.78% at 6,894.98, its highest closing level since early Dec. 2015.

* Meanwhile, laying out its monetary and financial sector policy road map for the new year on Monday, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said it intended to establish a permanent single digit interest rate structure in the economy. (bit.ly/3534SwL)

* “We will remain focused on maintaining market interest rates at single digit levels going forward. The business community will benefit from low-cost borrowing facilities corresponding to a low interest rate regime,” the central bank said.

* The index gained 10.5% in 2020, its best performance since 2014.

* Trading volume on the index rose to 380.20 million on Monday from 187.07 million in the previous session.

* Cigarette maker Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC and Browns Investments Plc were the biggest boosts to the index, ending 5.5% and 11.6% higher, respectively.

* Foreign investors were net sellers in the equity market, offloading 321.7 million Sri Lankan rupees ($1.73 million) worth of shares, according to exchange data.

* The Sri Lankan rupee was last quoted at 186 against the U.S. dollar as of 11:48 GMT, according to Refinitiv data.

* Equity market turnover was about 5 billion rupees, exchange data showed.

* For a report on global markets, click

* For a report on major currencies, click ($1 = 186.0000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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