COLOMBO, April 3 The Sri Lankan rupee was steady
in dull trade on Monday as mild importer dollar demand was
offset by inward remittances and exporter dollar sales ahead of
the festival season, dealers said.
Rupee forwards were active, with two-week forwards
trading steady at 152.45/50 per dollar at 0619 GMT.
"There is not much of activity. Market is very quiet as the
seasonal importer demand has settled and most of the companies
will be shut for the new year by the end of this week," said a
currency dealer who did not wish to be named.
The rupee has been under pressure due to dollar demand to
meet increased seasonal imports ahead of the traditional new
year that is celebrated on April 13-14, dealers said.
The central bank on March 27 raised the spot rupee
reference rate by 10 cents to 151.70. It had raised the
reference rate by 25 cents on March 20.
The central bank raised interest rates for the first time in
eight months on March 24, saying tighter policy was a precaution
against a build-up of inflationary pressures.
Analysts said the rate hike, a move that was also aimed at
easing pressure on the rupee, could help stabilise the domestic
currency that has been hurt by rising imports and outflows due
to rupee bond sales by foreign investors.
Foreign investors net sold government securities worth 950
million rupees ($6.26 million) in the week ended March 29, and
they have net sold 64.2 billion rupees of such instruments so
far this year.
Sri Lankan shares were up 0.17 percent at 6,072.70 as
of 0621 GMT. Turnover stood at 824 million rupees ($5.43
($1 = 151.7500 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil