COLOMBO May 24 The Sri Lankan rupee closed
lower on Wednesday on higher demand for dollars from importers,
but selling of the U.S. currency by state-run banks capped
losses, traders said.
Rupee forwards were active, with spot-next forwards
closing at 152.90/153.00 per dollar, compared with Tuesday's
close of 152.80/90.
One-week forwards ended at 153.05/15, compared with the
previous session's close of 152.90/153.00.
"There was sizeable demand (for dollars) today, and (during
the) latter part of the day two state banks sold dollars," said
a currency dealer.
Sri Lanka's central bank has purchased around $400 million
directly from the market so far this year, governor Indrajit
Coomaraswamy said last week, adding it was targeting $1.2
billion in direct market purchases of dollars to boost the
island nation's reserves this year.
Dealers said the central bank's plan will keep the rupee
under pressure, with the market expecting about 4-6 percent
depreciation in the currency this year.
The spot rupee did not trade on Wednesday.
The central bank fixed the spot rupee reference rate at
152.50 on May 5.
The central bank has allowed the currency to gradually
depreciate since mid-December, revising its spot reference rate
($1 = 152.5000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)