COLOMBO Jan 4 The Sri Lankan rupee ended steady
in thin trade on Wednesday amid worries over slowing foreign
fund inflows and after the central bank chief signalled a change
in the monetary authority's intervention policy to defend the
Central Bank Governor Indrajith Coomaraswamy said after the
markets closed on Tuesday that defending the rupee with
foreign exchange reserves "doesn't seem sensible" as it has
always been followed by a sharp depreciation in the currency.
Rupee forwards were active, with one-month forwards
ending at 150.90/10 per dollar, compared with Tuesday's close of
One-week forwards were quoted around 150.20/30 compared with
Tuesday's close of 150.25/35, while spot-next forwards and the
spot rupee were hardly traded, dealers said.
"We saw some demand in the morning but it has eased. There
were some state bank dollar sales too," said a currency dealer
who declined to be named.
"The central bank governor's statement makes sense. It is
more sensible to allow market players to determine it."
The central bank said in a policy document on Tuesday that
experience had clearly demonstrated that maintaining "an
overvalued exchange rate at the expense of external reserves" is
A smooth market-based exchange rate would prevent highly
disruptive adjustments after periods of stable rates
artificially maintained by continuous central bank intervention.
"It is time to stop this pattern and commence building up of
external reserves through sustainable foreign exchange inflows,"
the governor said, quoting from the document.
The rupee has been under pressure due to rising imports and
net selling of government securities by foreign investors,
On Friday, the central bank raised the spot currency
reference rate to 150.00, a record low against the dollar.
The banking regulator raised the spot reference rate by 50
cents last week, after a 40-cent increase in each of the
previous two weeks amid sustained pressure on the currency.
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by