Sri Lankan rupee steady; exporter dlr sales offset bank demand

COLOMBO, Aug 18 (Reuters) – The Sri Lankan rupee was steady for a fourth straight session on Thursday as dollar sales by exporters were offset by demand for the U.S. currency from banks, dealers said.

The spot rupee was at 145.50/55 per dollar at 0623 GMT, unchanged from Tuesday’s close.

The markets were closed for a holiday on Wednesday.

“There is (dollar) selling in the market but the rupee is steady as banks buy dollars for swaps,” a currency dealer said, asking not to be named.

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

Since a $1.5 billion inflow from a dual-tenure sovereign bond issue, the central bank has largely not intervened in the currency market to defend the rupee. Central bank officials were not available for comment.

One-week rupee forwards were at 145.73/78 per dollar, compared with Tuesday’s close of 145.72/77.

Foreign investors bought a net 66.9 billion rupees ($460.11 million) worth of government securities between April 29 and Aug. 10, central bank data showed.

Sri Lankan shares were trading firmer, with the benchmark Colombo stock index up 0.26 percent at 6,594.91 as of 0638 GMT. Turnover stood at 1.3 billion rupees ($8.93 million). ($1 = 145.5000 Sri Lankan rupees)