COLOMBO Feb 23 The Sri Lankan rupee traded
steady on Thursday as exporter dollar sales offset demand for
the greenback from importers, in the absence of central bank
intervention, dealers said.
Rupee forwards were active with two-week forwards
trading at 153.40/50 per dollar at 0539 GMT, compared with
Wednesday's close of 153.40/70. It hit a low of 153.70 in early
The two-week forwards had fallen 1 percent since Monday
The currency continued to be under pressure due to dollar
demand from importers ahead of the traditional Sinhala-Tamil new
year in mid-April, while foreign investors continue to exit
government securities, dealers said.
Foreign investors have net sold $325.70 million worth of
securities in the seven weeks to Feb. 15, surpassing the total
net foreign outflow of $324.3 million in the comparable period
in 2016, according to the latest central bank and government
The currency weakness comes at a time when a mission from
the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has asked the
central bank to maintain a flexible exchange rate, is in Colombo
for the second review of a $1.5 billion loan.
Sri Lanka could face balance-of-payments pressure due to
foreign outflows from government securities, a government
document showed last week, even as the island-nation is in the
process of raising up to $2.5 billion from foreign borrowing.
The rupee has weakened 1.1 percent so far this year. It fell
3.9 percent last year, following a 10 percent drop in 2015.
Sri Lankan shares were up 0.1 percent at 6,137.16 as
of 0550 GMT. Turnover was 94.4 million rupees ($622,076).
($1 = 151.7500 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by