June 30, 2017 / 6:33 AM / 5 months ago

Sri Lanka rupee steady on exporter dollar sales; stocks up

COLOMBO, June 30 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee traded steady on Friday as mild importer dollar demand was offset by greenback sales by exporters and banks, while expectations over a rise in imports pressured the local currency, dealers said.

The spot rupee, which has been trading for the ninth straight session after being inactive for six weeks, was at 153.55/65 per dollar, as of 0550 GMT, hardly changed from Thursday’s close of 153.50/60.

The spot rupee resumed trading on June 19 for the first time since May 5 when the central bank fixed its reference rate at 152.50.

“There is a little bit of trading happening but not much of activities,” said a currency dealer, requesting anonymity.

Dealers said they expected seasonal demand for the dollar to pick up from August.

Rupee has been under pressure since early this year after the central bank stopped defending it while the island nation faces a balance of payments crisis.

The central bank is also compelled to buy dollars from the market to meet the reserve target set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under a $1.5 billion, three-year loan programme.

Sri Lankan shares were up 0.42 percent at 6,730.79, as of 0555 GMT. Turnover stood at 612.8 million rupees ($3.99 million).

$1 = 153.5000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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