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Mauritius Stocks Decline to 2-Year Low, led by Hotels, Bank

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Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Stocks in Mauritius fell for a fifth day to a two-year low on speculation the effects of a drop in tourists will spread from hotel operators to banks.

The 39-member SEMDEX index dropped as much as 0.6 percent to 1,683.25 and closed 0.4 percent down to 1,686.79 by 1:30 p.m., in Port Louis, the capital, the lowest on a closing basis since July 2010. The Semdex is the worst-performing index in Africa this year, declining 14 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Tourist arrivals to the $10-billion Indian Ocean island-economy will probably decline 0.5 percent this year, the nation’s statistics agency said on Aug. 23. Loans to the tourism industry amounted to 43.3 billion rupees ($1.4 billion) at end of June, accounting for 16 percent of credit to companies, according to Bank of Mauritius data.

Investors are “taking full stock of the woes in the tourism industry,” Neeraj Umanee, manager of the Port Louis-based Anglo-Mauritius Stockbrokers Ltd., said by phone. “There is the threat that the tourism problems trickle down the economy, affecting lenders who have loans exposure in the industry.”

New Mauritius Hotels Ltd., the biggest leisure operator, retreated as much as 5.3 percent and traded 1.8 percent lower to 56 rupees, the lowest since February 2005. Sun Resorts Ltd. decreased 2 percent to 29.90 rupees, a 10-year low. State Bank of Mauritius Ltd., the second biggest-lender by market value, fell 0.6 percent to 81.50 rupees, the lowest since July 26.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kamlesh Bhuckory in Port Louis at kbhuckory@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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