COLOMBO May 3 The Sri Lankan rupee ended steady
on Wednesday as importer dollar demand was offset by exporter
sales amid expectations of dollar inflows from a sovereign bond
issuance and syndicated loans, dealers said.
The central bank raised the spot rupee reference rate by 20
cents to 152.10.
Sri Lanka expects to raise up to $1.5 billion via a
sovereign bond issuance and another $1 billion from two separate
Rupee forwards were active, with two-week forwards
steady at 153.30/25 per dollar.
"The (importer) demand was there. There have been some
selling by exporters and banks too," a currency dealer said,
asking not to be named.
Dealers expect the rupee to stabilise on higher dollar
liquidity after the anticipated inflows.
A government move to double the borrowing limit of
development bonds to $3 billion in 2017 is also expected to
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake had last week blamed
"technical difficulties" for a two-month delay in receiving an
around $160 million loan tranche from the International Monetary
Fund and said the disbursement was expected after June 14.
Sri Lanka has seen a rise in foreign inflows into equities
and government securities since early last month, with foreign
investors buying shares worth a net 13.7 billion rupees in 26
consecutive sessions through Friday.
Foreign investors also net bought government securities
worth 908.9 million rupees ($5.98 million) in the week ended
April 26, extending the net inflow to 7.2 billion rupees in four
consecutive weeks. But they have net sold 57 billion rupees
worth of government bonds so far this year.
($1 = 151.9000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas