COLOMBO, April 17 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee firmed on Monday in thin trading as foreign banks sold the dollar, dealers said, but stocks were headed for their first decline in 12 sessions.
Rupee forwards were active, with two-week forwards trading at 152.95/153.10 per dollar at 0620 GMT, compared with Wednesday’s close of 153.50/60.
The country’s foreign exchange and stock markets were closed for traditional Sinhala-Tamil new year holiday on Thursday and Friday.
“The market is still dull as a lot of corporates are not active after the new year holidays. We see some dollar sales from foreign banks in the absence of importer dollar demand,” said a currency dealer who requested anonymity.
Other dealers said the dollar sales could be due to foreign investors buying local government securities or equities. Foreign investors have net bought 5.22 billion rupees ($34.3 million) worth of equities in the last 16 consecutive sessions of net-buying.
The rupee was under pressure due to increased seasonal imports ahead of the new year.
Outflows due to rupee bond sales by foreign investors have also been putting pressure on the currency.
Foreign investors net bought government securities worth 259.5 million rupees ($1.7 million) in the week ended April 5. However, they net sold 63.9 billion rupees worth of such instruments so far this year.
Sri Lankan shares were down 0.4 percent at 6,379.55 as of 0627 GMT, heading for the first decline since March 27. Turnover stood at 233.7 million rupees ($1.54 million).
$1 = 151.9000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri