COLOMBO May 25 The Sri Lankan rupee ended
steady on Thursday as importer dollar demand offset selling of
the greenback by exporters and state-run banks, traders said.
Rupee forwards were active, with spot-next forwards
ending at 152.90/95 per dollar, compared with Wednesday's close
One-week forwards ended at 153.10/20, compared with the
previous session's close of 153.05/15.
"There was demand (for dollars) from foreign banks. State
banks sold dollars, preventing the rupee from falling below
153," said a currency dealer.
However, it is unclear whether state banks were selling
dollars on behalf of the central bank. Central Bank officials
were not available for comment, dealers said.
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 Thursday.
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 = 152.7500 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Vyas Mohan)