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Sri Lanka's reserves up 'substantially'-cenbank
COLOMBO Feb 18 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's sharply fallen foreign currency reserves have increased substantially after the central bank's recent efforts to boost the reserves, the bank's governor said on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka's gross official foreign currency reserves had fallen to $2.03 billion, sufficient to fund just over seven weeks of imports, at the end of November, according to the central bank's latest figures.
"Our reserves have risen by a substantial amount with money coming in through the methods specified in our policy road map other than from the Sri Lankan diaspora," central bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal told Reuters.
However, he refused to divulge the the amount, source or the total reserves as of now.
Sri Lanka's 2009 policy road map aims to boost reserves by offering incentives on bank deposits and opening up the treasury securities market to the diaspora, and through currency swaps with other central banks.
Market sources last week said the central bank has signed a $300 million, 6-month currency swap deal with the Malaysian central bank to boost reserves. Cabraal declined to comment.
The $32 billion economy's reserves plummeted over 40 percent in just three months from August's $3.4 billion, as foreigners withdrew investments in T-bonds and T-bills in the face of the global crisis and the central bank supported the rupee LKR=.
The central bank allowed limited and gradual depreciation of the rupee LKR= since Oct. 30, to enhance export competitiveness. The rupee has fallen 5.47 percent since then, hitting an all-time low of 114.30/35 on Monday. ($1 = 114.25 rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Bryson Hull)
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