COLOMBO, April 4 The Sri Lankan rupee ended
steady in dull trade on Tuesday as late importer dollar demand
erased the early gains from inward remittances and exporter
greenback sales ahead of the festival season, dealers said.
Rupee forwards were active, with two-week forwards
ending steady at 152.40/50 per dollar.
"There was some importer demand latter part of the day.
Dollar conversions are happening as these are the last few days
to pay bonuses and salaries before the new year. So, exporters
are converting. We can see some inward remittances too," said a
currency dealer who did not wish to be named.
The rupee has been under pressure due to dollar demand to
meet increased seasonal imports ahead of the traditional new
year that is celebrated on April 13-14, dealers said.
The central bank raised the spot rupee reference
rate by 10 cents to 151.70 on March 27. It had raised the
reference rate by 25 cents on March 20.
The central bank raised interest rates for the first time in
eight months on March 24, saying tighter policy was a precaution
against a build-up of inflationary pressures.
Analysts said the rate hike, a move that was also aimed at
easing pressure on the rupee, could help stabilise the domestic
currency that has been hurt by rising imports and outflows due
to rupee bond sales by foreign investors.
Foreign investors net sold government securities worth 950
million rupees ($6.26 million) in the week ended March 29. They
have net sold 64.2 billion rupees of such instruments so far
($1 = 151.7000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil