COLOMBO May 19 The Sri Lankan rupee fell on
Friday on importer dollar demand and fewer exporter conversions,
even as investors said the currency could weaken further after
the central bank decided to buy dollars directly from the market
to boost reserves.
Rupee forwards were active, with spot-next forwards
trading at 152.90/153.00 per dollar at 0533 GMT, compared with
Thursday's close of 152.85/90. One-week forwards were trading at
153.15/25, compared with the previous session's close of
Sri Lanka's central bank is targeting $1.2 billion in direct
market purchases of dollars to boost the island nation's
reserves this year, said Indrajit Coomaraswamy, the monetary
authority's chief, on Thursday.
That comes after Sri Lanka missed its end-December reserves
target agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a
$1.5 billion, 36-month loan.
Coomaraswamy said the central bank has purchased around $400
million directly from the market so far this year.
"Exporters are not converting after the central bank
announcement. They are watching the situation and we can see
some importer demand," a currency dealer said, asking not to be
The spot rupee did not trade on Friday.
The central bank fixed the spot rupee reference rate at
152.50 on May 5.
The central bank has allowed the currency to gradually
depreciate since mid-December, revising its spot reference rate
Sri Lankan shares were down 0.32 percent at 6,719.38
as of 0613 GMT. Turnover stood at 258.4 million rupees ($1.69
($1 = 152.8000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju