COLOMBO, June 9 The Sri Lankan rupee traded
steady on Friday in tepid trade as mild inward remittances
offset dollar demand from importers, dealers said.
Rupee forwards were active, with spot-next forwards
trading at 152.85/95 per dollar at 0541 GMT, unchanged from the
The markets were closed on Thursday for a Buddhist religious
"It's a very dull day and nothing much is happening," a
currency dealer said, requesting anonymity.
The rupee has been under pressure after the central bank
governor said the bank would allow gradual depreciation of the
The central bank has set a target of $1.2 billion in direct
market purchases of dollars to boost the island nation's
reserves this year.
The spot rupee, which the central bank had fixed at
152.50 since May 5, did not trade on Friday.
Foreign investors bought a net 740 million rupees ($4.86
million) worth of government securities in the week ended May
31. They have sold a net 41.33 billion rupees worth of
securities so far this year.
Trade was dull as investors assessed the extent of damage to
the economy from the recent floods and landslides.
The country's main agricultural crops - tea and rubber -
were hit by the worst torrential rains in 14 years.
Damage to agricultural exports would put pressure on the
rupee, currency dealers said. The hospitality and manufacturing
sectors are likely to be the worst hit, analysts said.
However, dealers said there was some optimism over expected
inflows in the form of international assistance, which could
help offset potential downward pressure on the local currency.
Dealers said the aid inflows could help the rupee, but the
central bank will have to tighten interest rates to curb
unnecessary credit growth and inflationary pressure.
The floods could hurt overall economic growth and also widen
the government's budget deficit with high infrastructure
spending, dealers said.
Sri Lankan shares were down 0.06 percent at 6,659.90,
as of 0558 GMT. Turnover stood at 219.1 million rupees ($1.44
($1 = 152.6000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sherry