COLOMBO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee ended slightly weaker in dull trade on Tuesday as importer dollar demand surpassed mild exporter greenback sales, dealers said.
Dealers said the rupee was under pressure last week due to dollar demand from state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corp (CPC), which stocked up crude ahead of an expected fuel price hike.
The spot rupee ended at 153.60/65 per dollar, slightly weaker from Monday’s close of 153.55/65.
“It was a dull day. There was not much of activity. But the rupee ended a tad weaker on mild importer (dollar) demand,” said a currency dealer, who requested anonymity.
“There was not much exporter dollar sales as well.”
Crude prices are expected to rise in the country after private fuel retailer Lanka IOC informed local media it is likely to increase rates as they have been selling at a loss.
The rupee has been under pressure since January after the central bank stopped defending the currency and started buying the dollar to build the country’s depleted foreign currency reserves.
The island nation has seen 19.1 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($124.35 million) of net inflows into equities this year, as of Tuesday’s close, and 33.8 billion rupees into government securities as of Oct. 11, official data showed.
$1 = 153.6000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips