COLOMBO, July 6 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee ended steady on Thursday as importer demand for dollars offset mild greenback sales by exporters and banks, while expectations that imports would increase weighed on the local currency.
The spot rupee ended steady at 153.63/68 per dollar, compared with Wednesday's close of 153.63/73.
"Today the importer demand was not as much as it was in the last few days. There was some inward remittances and some exporter conversions too," said a currency dealer, requesting anonymity.
The spot rupee resumed trading on June 19 for the first time since May 5, when the central bank fixed its reference rate at 152.50.
Dealers said they expected seasonal demand for dollars to pick up from August.
The rupee has been under pressure since early this year after the central bank stopped defending the currency at a time when the island nation faces a balance of payments crisis.
The central bank is also compelled to buy dollars from the market to meet the reserve target set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under a $1.5 billion, three-year loan programme.
$1 = 153.7000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan