COLOMBO, March 22 The Sri Lankan rupee fell in
thin trade on Wednesday as dollar demand from importers offset
selling of the U.S. currency by exporters ahead of a decision on
interest rates by the central bank.
The bank meets to discuss monetary policy later this week
and could raise key policy rates then or in the coming months, a
Reuters poll showed, two weeks after the International Monetary
Fund called for further tightening.
Rupee forwards were active, with two-week forwards
ending at 152.40/60 per dollar, from Tuesday's close of
"Some exporter sales helped prevent a steeper fall," said a
currency dealer, asking not to be named. "We hope the central
bank will raise the interest rates to help ease the pressure on
Rising imports and outflow from rupee bond sales by foreign
investors, however, are expected to exert pressure on the
currency, dealers said.
The central bank raised the spot rupee reference rate by 25
cents to 151.60 on Monday. It has been preventing spot rupee
trades below 151.35 per dollar since March 8.
Central bank officials were not available for comment.
Foreign investors net sold government securities worth 1.41
billion rupees ($9.28 million) in the week ended March 15. This
came after two weeks of net inflows.
They have net sold 63.3 billion rupees of such instruments
so far this year.
The rupee has fallen 1.31 percent so far this year, and
dealers say they expect the currency to weaken 6-8 percent in
2017. It lost 3.9 percent against the dollar last year.
($1 = 151.5000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Biju