COLOMBO May 5 The Sri Lankan rupee forwards
closed slightly higher on Friday as exporters sold the dollar,
while the market awaited inflows from sovereign bond and
syndicated loans, dealers said.
The spot rupee, which did not trade for four
months, was traded on Friday, two days after the central bank
adjusted the spot reference rate to 152.10 from 151.90.
Dealers said spot rupee started trading on Friday
after a state bank bought the dollars at 152.50 per dollar. It
ended at 152.50/70 per dollar.
The central bank has allowed the currency to gradually
depreciate since mid-December, revising its spot reference rate
multiple times. It has said that defending the currency with
foreign exchange reserves does not "seem sensible".
Sri Lanka drew a blowout response in its return to the
international bond market, attracting orders of more than $11
billion from 500 accounts for a $1.5 billion 10-year bond.
Rupee forwards which were active during the past few
weeks, and two-week forwards ended tad firmer at 153.00/20 per
dollar, from Thursday's close of 153.25/35.
"Today the spot rupee traded after a gap as a state bank
bought dollars at 152.50," a currency dealer said.
"With the bond sales, importers are not seen in the market
and they are waiting to see the outcome of bond sales."
Currency dealers expect the rupee to stabilise on higher
dollar liquidity after the anticipated inflows.
An IMF statement late on Wednesday also helped boost
sentiment. The global lender said its executive board was likely
to consider in June Sri Lanka's request for the completion of a
second loan review, a requirement for disbursing a third tranche
The rupee has been strengthening on expectations of inflows
from a sovereign bond issuance and syndicated loans, dealers
The country expects to raise up to $1.5 billion via a
sovereign bond issuance, and another $1 billion from two
separate syndicated loans.
The island nation has seen inflows into equities and
government securities since early April.
Foreign investors have net bought Sri Lankan shares worth
14.1 billion rupees in the last 30 sessions.
They also net bought government securities worth billion
rupees in four consecutive weeks ended on April 26. But they
have net sold 57 billion rupees worth of government bonds so far
($1 = 152.2000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas