March 15 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares closed higher on Wednesday for a second straight session, helped by gains in financials and consumer staples stocks.

* The CSE All-Share index rose 0.39% to 9,587.79.

* Sri Lanka’s economy shrank 7.8% in 2022 from a year ago, data from the statistics department showed on Wednesday after the markets closed

* The island’s fourth quarter GDP also contracted 12.4%, according to the figures.

* Separately, public employees at Sri Lanka’s ports, hospitals, schools, and railways went on strike on Wednesday to protest against high costs of living as the country struggles to recover from a severe financial crisis.

* Thousands of members belonging to more than 40 trade unions refused to report to work or took sick leave in the latest round of protests to demand the government rolls back high taxes, lower record-high interest rates, and reduce power tariffs.

* Sri Lanka will not make side arrangements with any of its bilateral or commercial creditors to reduce the impact of debt treatment on them, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a letter to creditors seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

* LOLC Finance Plc and Browns Investments Plc were the biggest boosts to the index, both surging 8.3%, according to Refinitiv data.

* The trading volume for the CSE All Share index rose to 66.8 million shares from 52 million in the previous session.

* The equity market’s turnover rose to 1.63 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($4.87 million) from 1.46 billion rupees in the previous session, according to exchange data.

* Foreign investors were net buyers in the equity market, purchasing stocks worth 303 million rupees, while domestic investors were net sellers, offloading 1.55 billion rupees worth of shares, the data showed.

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$1 = 335 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Navamya Ganesh Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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