Sri Lankan rupee firmer on exporter dollar sales; stocks down

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COLOMBO, Nov 8 (Reuters) – The Sri Lankan rupee edged up on Tuesday as dollar selling by exporters outpaced demand for the greenback from importers, dealers said.

Rupee forwards were active with one-week forwards trading at 148.15/25 per dollar at 0610 GMT, compared with Monday’s close of 148.20/30.

“Overall, trading was dull. We expect the downward pressure on rupee to ease off with the budget and a pickup in remittances,” a currency dealer said, asking not to be named.

The rupee has been under pressure by selling of government securities by foreign investors, dealers said.

Foreign investors have net sold 24.5 billion rupees ($165.6 million) worth of government securities in the three weeks ended Nov. 2, data from the central bank showed.

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

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

Sri Lankan shares were marginally lower, with the benchmark Colombo stock index down 0.11 percent at 6,438.19 as of 0624 GMT. Turnover stood at 59.4 million rupees ($402,166.55).

($1 = 147.7000 Sri Lankan rupees)