COLOMBO Feb 9 The Sri Lankan rupee ended steady
on Thursday ahead of a long weekend as dollar sales by exporters
offset demand for the U.S. currency from banks to facilitate
continuing exit of foreign investors from government securities,
Sri Lanka's stock and foreign exchange markets will be
closed on Friday for a Buddhist religious holiday.
Rupee forwards were active with two-week forwards
closing steady at 151.20/25 per dollar.
Sri Lanka's central bank governor, Indrajit Coomaraswamy,
said on Wednesday that the bank was not planning to abruptly
scrap its support for the rupee.
"It will be a gradual one. You have seen what has happened
last month or two. That's the pattern," Coomaraswamy said.
The central bank has allowed the rupee to gradually
depreciate since mid-December, revising its spot reference rate
The rupee has weakened 0.6 percent so far this year and has
been under pressure due to rising imports and net selling of
government securities by foreign investors, while the central
bank said defending the currency with foreign exchange reserves
did not "seem sensible".
The central bank kept its key rates steady on Tuesday for a
sixth straight month, but flagged possible "corrective measures"
in the months ahead in a sign further tightening might be on the
cards to temper inflation pressures and safeguard a fragile
Foreign investors net sold 26.6 billion rupees ($177.10
million) worth of government securities in the four weeks to
Feb. 1, according to the latest central bank data.
($1 = 150.7000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by