September 11, 2013 / 7:34 AM / 4 years ago

Sri Lanka rupee firmer on exporter dollar sales, global outlook

COLOMBO, Sept 11 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee firmed on Wednesday as exporters sold dollars, enjoying a rare respite after a three-month slide.

The rupee spot, which had been inactive for several weeks, was actively traded at 132.80/90 per dollar, dealers said.

“The pressure has eased for the moment,” a currency dealer said. “The spot started trading again after some time with exporters selling.”

A modest rebound in the Indian rupee ,INR=> also aided sentiment.

The Indian rupee extended gains to a fifth session on Wednesday as easing geopolitical tensions in Syria led to cooling of global crude oil prices, which will help keep the country’s import bill in check.

The rupee hit a record low of 135.20 to the dollar on Aug. 28, before recovering slightly.

The Sri Lankan rupee has been falling since early July, with foreign investors pulling out of local bonds as U.S. Treasury yields rose on expectations the Federal Reserve would soon begin to taper its big bond buying programme.

The central bank’s latest data showed foreign holdings in government securities fell 2.2 percent to 482.4 billion rupees ($3.63 billion) in the week ended on Sept. 4, after falling 2 percent in the previous week.

However, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal last week said foreign holdings in government securities are still well above the threshold of 12.5 percent of the total outstanding T-bills and T-bonds.

The rupee has fallen nearly 4 percent this year, after depreciating around 10 percent in 2012.

Sri Lanka’s main stock index traded 0.62 percent or 35.01 points higher at 5702.34 by 0721 GMT. It hit a more than eight-month low on Monday after falling 3.9 percent in six straight sessions.

“Some investors were buying banking shares, we have seen some bottom fishing,” one stockbroker said. (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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