COLOMBO Dec 14 The Sri Lankan rupee ended
weaker on Wednesday as importer dollar demand surpassed selling
of the U.S. currency by exporters after a long weekend, while
the central bank raised the spot reference rate, indicating it
did not want the rupee to rise, dealers said.
The rupee usually rises in December ahead of Christmas and
the New Year due to remittances from expatriates, but dealers
said the rupee was expected to face pressure due to higher
dollar demand from importers.
Rupee forwards were active, with spot-next forwards
closing at 148.95/149.05 per dollar, compared with Friday's
close of 148.85/95. The markets were closed for public holidays
on Monday and Tuesday.
"Today's (dollar) demand may be due to the long weekend. But
the pressure (on the rupee) persists," said a currency dealer,
The central bank on Wednesday raised the spot reference rate
by 10 cents to 148.80 rupee per dollar, dealers said. The spot
rupee was hardly traded, but was quoted at 148.70/95.
"Central bank raising the reference rate is also putting
pressure on the currency as it seems it does not want the
currency to appreciate."
Pressure on the rupee is expected to ease when seasonal
inward remittances begin and dollar demand by importers weakens
ahead of the year-end festival season, dealers said, adding
demand from state banks is holding the rupee steady.
The rupee is expected to be under pressure on fears that
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's economic policies will lead
to a stronger greenback and trigger foreign fund outflows, some
Foreign investors have net sold 45.4 billion rupees ($305.6
million) worth of government securities in the seven weeks ended
The U.S. Federal Reserve will conclude its two-day policy
meeting later on Wednesday and is widely expected to raise
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju