COLOMBO May 25 The Sri Lankan rupee traded
lower on Thursday on higher importer demand for dollars, but
greenback sales by state-run banks helped curb losses, traders
Rupee forwards were active, with spot-next forwards
trading at 152.95/153.05 per dollar, as of 0625 GMT, compared
with Wednesday's close of 152.90/153.00.
One-week forwards were at 153.15/25, compared with the
previous session's close of 153.05/15.
"There is a demand from foreign banks while the state banks
are selling dollars and preventing the rupee from falling below
153," said a currency dealer.
However, dealers said it was unclear whether state banks
were selling dollars on behalf of the central bank. Central Bank
officials were not available for comment.
Sri Lanka's central bank has purchased around $400 million
directly from the market so far this year, governor Indrajit
Coomaraswamy said last week, adding it was targeting $1.2
billion in direct market purchases of dollars to boost the
island nation's reserves this year.
Dealers said the central bank's plan will keep the rupee
under pressure, with the market expecting about 4-6 percent
depreciation in the currency this year.
The spot rupee did not trade on Thursday.
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 up 0.2 percent at 6,725.1, as
of 0617 GMT. Turnover stood at 135.1 million rupees
($1 = 152.7500 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)