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Sri Lankan shares closed lower on Wednesday after news that despite widespread protests, the president of the debt-heavy island nation, currently facing an economic crisis, would not resign.

At the close of trade, the CSE All-Share index settled 1.8% lower at 8,580.93 points.

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will not resign, a minister said on Wednesday, despite demonstrations against his handling of the country’s worst economic crisis in decades and as doctors held street protests over a shortage of medicine.

The debt-laden country currently faces shortages of food, fuel and medicines and prolonged power cuts as it struggles to pay for imports of fuel and other goods due to a scarcity of foreign exchange.

Sri Lanka’s sovereign dollar bonds dropped more than 3 cents against the dollar on Wednesday.

Ratings agency Moody’s said protracted political uncertainty likely to hinder progress in obtaining external financing from key development partners or attracting foreign direct investment, due to Sri Lanka’s reliance on capital inflows to repay its sizeable foreign-currency obligations.

The equity market turnover was 1.94 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($6.47 million), compared with 1.14 billion rupees in the previous session.

Trading volume rose to 69.9 million shares from 61.8 million shares in the previous session.

Foreign investors were net buyers in the equity market, purchasing shares worth 240.8 million rupees, while domestic investors were net sellers, offloading 1.85 billion rupees worth of shares, exchange data showed.

On the CSE All-Share index, conglomerate Expolanka Holdings and LOLC Finance were the top drags, declining 5.1% and 16.8%, respectively.

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