Sri Lankan rupee firmer on exporter dlr sales; stocks edge lower

Nov 04, 2016 (Reuters) – The Sri Lankan rupee edged up on Friday as dollar selling by exporters surpassed the demand for the greenback from importers, dealers said.

Rupee forwards were active, with one-week forwards trading at 148.30/40 per dollar at 0604 GMT, compared with Thursday’s close of 148.80/90.

“Exporter conversions are exceeding the importer demand, supporting the rupee,” a currency dealer said, asking not to be named.

The Sri Lankan central bank governor said on Tuesday that he expected the rupee to stabilise when the $1 billion sale of a stake in the southern port of Hambantota to a Chinese investor was completed in four to five months.

Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said that proceeds of stake sale would be converted into rupees, easing the strain on the currency that has been under pressure since mid-September due to seasonal demand for the U.S. dollar from importers.

Dealers said the rupee has also been hit due to the selling of government securities by foreign investors.

Foreign investors have net sold 16 billion rupees ($108.40 million) worth of government securities in the two weeks to Oct. 26, data from the central bank showed.

Sri Lankan shares were marginally lower, with the benchmark Colombo stock index down 0.05 percent at 6,439.07 as of 0607 GMT. Turnover stood at 144.9 million Sri Lankan rupees ($976,415.09).