Sri Lankan shares end lower after rate hike fails to lift mood



July 7 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended lower on Thursday for a fourth consecutive day, after the central bank's aggressive rate hike to tackle soaring inflation failed to meet market expectations.

* At the end of trade, the CSE All-Share index .CSE was down 0.8% at 7,057.86.

* Sri Lanka raised interest rates to the highest level in two decades on Thursday, saying it had to head off runaway inflation to avoid even deeper pain for an economy that is already in crisis and is shrinking.

* Central bank Governor P. Nandalal Weerasinghe said inflation could go as high as 70%, prompting the central bank to raise rates to address the rise in prices.

* Ten of a dozen economists and analysts polled by Reuters had said they expected a rate increase ranging between 100 and 300 basis points.

* The country is currently facing its worst economic crisis in seven decades, unable to pay for essential imports such as fuel and medicine due to a severe shortage of foreign exchange.

* On the CSE All-Share index, trading volume fell to 42.9 million shares from 51.5 million shares in the previous session.

* The equity market turnover was 791.5 million rupees ($2.23 million), according to exchange data.

* Foreign investors were net buyers in the equity market, purchasing 190.1 million rupees worth of shares, while domestic investors were net sellers, offloading 782.7 million rupees worth of shares, the data showed.

* For a report on global markets, click

($1 = 355.0000 Sri Lankan rupees)
Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru

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