Sri Lankan shares end lower as cenbank raises interest rates

Aug 19 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares closed lower on Thursday as the country’s central bank became the first in Asia to raise interest rates since the pandemic began, while financial and industrial sectors weighed.

* The CSE All-Share index ended 0.99% lower at 8,260.08 points at the closing bell.

* Conglomerate Lanka Orix Leasing Company Plc and LOLC Development Finance Plc were the top drags on the index, closing 6.6% and 3.4% lower, respectively.

* The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has tightened its monetary policy to stem inflationary pressure and high imports, one of the factors behind the rupee’s 8% depreciation this year

* Sri Lanka sovereign dollar bonds which had sold off in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, surged on Thursday after the central bank’s decision to raise interest rates

* The island nation reported here 170 fatalities due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 6,604.

* Cases rose by 3,676 in the last 24 hours, with total confirmed cases now at 369,359.

* Sri Lanka said it had fully vaccinated 5.1 million of the 22 million population as of Aug. 18.

* Meanwhile, ten political parties in the governing alliance have requested President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to lock down the country for three weeks in order to manage the current COVID-19 situation.

* The equity market’s turnover was 5.46 billion rupees, according to the exchange’s data.

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* For a report on major currencies, click (Reporting by Shivani Singh in Bengaluru and Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo; editing by Maju Samuel)