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* Sri Lankan shares up as communication, real estate stocks gain
Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 09:34 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 19 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares inched higher on Wednesday as communication services and real estate companies rose, although weakness in the energy sector limited gains.

At the closing bell, the CSE All-Share index was up 0.04% at 13,462.39. The index logged its fourth consecutive session of gains.

Non-banking financial firm Commercial Leasing & Finance Plc and national telecommunications services provider Sri Lanka Telecom Plc were the top boosts to the index, closing up 5% and 5.9%, respectively.

Conglomerate Expolanka Holdings Plc was top drag to the index, ending 1.3% lower.

Data from Sri Lanka's statistics department published Tuesday evening showed an increase of 0.3 index points in December services sector PMI compared to November. This indicated a stronger growth in line with continued improvements in demand amid normalization of economic activities and the festive season.

December's manufacturing PMI index value was at 58.1, down 3.8 index points from November. However, in the next three months, expectations for manufacturing activities remain at higher levels anticipating continuous improvements in economic condition locally and globally.

The country's central bank is set to have its first monetary policy review meeting on Thursday.

A Reuters poll of 13 economists has predicted that the Central Bank of Sri Lanka is likely to raise interest rates at its first policy announcement in 2022 to tackle growing price pressures, manage external challenges and reduce pressure on the rupee.

Foreign investors were net sellers in the equity market, off-loading shares worth 213.8 million rupees ($1.05 million), exchange data showed.

The equity market's turnover was 5.57 billion rupees.

Trading volume dropped to 205.9 million shares from 256.7 million shares in the previous session.

Read More:: Reuters (Source)