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Sri Lanka’s stock exchange once again forced to halt trading amid heavy losses

Trading in Sri Lanka comes to a halt once again

Amid deepening economic crisis and plummeting liquid stocks, the Sri Lankan stock market halted trading on Monday soon after it opened in about two weeks.

The Strait Times said that Sri Lanka's blue-chip index sank 12.6 per cent, exceeding the 10 per cent drop that would result in an all-day suspension.

The benchmark Colombo All-Share Index fell as much as 6.7 per cent as investors worry about the nation's economic crisis, the news organisation said. Sri Lanka is in the middle of an unprecedented crisis since 1948—the year it gained independence. An acute shortage of essential items including food, fuel and medicines has hit the country.

. It has defaulted on its $51 billion external debt amid depleting foreign exchange reserves.

Last week, the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (CSE) said in a statement that it is "of the view that it would be in the best interests of investors as well as other market participants if they are afforded an opportunity to have more clarity and understanding of the economic conditions presently prevalent, in order for them to make informed investment decisions."

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis impacting fuel and commodity prices has further hit the island nation’s economy.

Sri Lanka's total debt burden for this year is $6.9 billion. The next payment deadline of $1 billion is due in July. In January, the country averted a default by repaying $500 million international sovereign bond.

Also read: How the Rajapaksa family's brazenly populist decisions led to Sri Lanka's economic meltdown

IMF chief thanks India for support to Sri Lanka as island nation seeks bail-out