Sri Lankan rupee edges down on importer dollar demand; stocks fall

COLOMBO, Sept 19 (Reuters) – The Sri Lankan rupee traded weaker on Monday as importer dollar demand surpassed selling of the U.S. currency by exporters, dealers said.

The spot rupee was traded at 145.80/95 per dollar at 0625 GMT, slightly weaker from Thursday’s close of 145.75/85. One-week forwards were at 146.05/20, compared with the previous close of 145.90/146.00.

Markets were closed on Friday for a Buddhist religious holiday.

The spot rupee is usually managed by the central bank and market participants use the forward market levels for guidance on the currency.

“Suddenly we now see importer demand coming in to market. It looks like the seasonal import demand has come in to the market,” said a currency dealer, asking not to be named.

“Today we can’t see the state banks yet, though they were active last Thursday.”

Dealers had expected seasonal importer demand to pick up from mid-October.

The central bank has largely not intervened to defend the rupee ever since a dual-tenure sovereign bond issue raised $1.5 billion in July.

Sri Lankan shares fell, with the benchmark Colombo stock index down 0.1 percent at 6,465.95 as of 0621 GMT. Turnover was at 201.9 million rupees ($1.38 million). ($1 = 145.8500 Sri Lankan rupees)