March 16, 2016 / 6:53 AM / 2 years ago

Sri Lanka share trading halted after emergency power failure

COLOMBO, March 16 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka’s share trading was halted briefly on Wednesday due to a power failure in the island nation’s main business building, World Trade Center (WTC) that houses the bourse, officials and stockbrokers said.

Sri Lanka is facing intermittent power cuts across the country after a nationwide power failure on Sunday crippled the country’s Chinese-built 900 MW coal power plant that supplies more than 40 percent of the country’s peak power demand.

The state-run power utility firm had announced the schedule of a more than seven-hour daily power cut across the country for business firms to ensure emergency power arrangements.

“Trading was disrupted for about 20 minutes as there was no power as WTC generators were not working,” Niroshan Wijesundara, head of marketing at the Colombo Stock Exchange, told Reuters.

The trading was halted at 0428 GMT when the main stock index was up 0.14 percent and resumed at 0446 GMT, Thomson Reuters data showed. It was up 0.27 percent at 0602 GMT.

Officials at WTC, which is owned and managed by listed Overseas Reality Ceylon Plc and houses several local and international business offices, did not have an immediate comment on the sudden power failure.

Stockbrokers said though there was not much impact on trading due to the halt, it added confusion to stock trade.

The main stock index has fallen 13.4 percent this year through Tuesday mainly due to central bank’s monetary policy tightening, expected hikes in taxes, and foreign selling after the U.S. Federal Reserves’ interest rate hike in December. (Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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