Sri Lankan rupee steady; exporter dollar sales offset bank buying

Oct 13, 2016 (Reuters) – The Sri Lankan rupee traded steady on Thursday as two state banks bought dollars sold by exporters, in the absence of any intervention by the central bank, dealers said.

The spot rupee, which was active on Thursday, was steady at 146.90/95 per dollar at 0733 GMT.

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

Rupee forwards were not as active as they were in the past four days, with the spot-next at 146.95/147.00, compared with the last close of 147.00/05.

Dealers expect downward pressure on the currency due to pick up in seasonal imports through mid-December.

The rupee has been under pressure due to importer dollar demand, posting a 0.4 percent fall last week, following a 0.65 percent loss in the preceding week, Thomson Reuters data showed.

The central bank has been buying dollars from the market to accumulate reserves to meet targets set by the International Monetary Fund under a $1.5-billion loan deal, dealers said.

Officials at the central bank were not available for comment.

Sri Lankan shares were down, with the benchmark Colombo stock index 0.15 percent lower at 6,500.14 as of 0722 GMT. Turnover stood at 234.4 million rupees ($1.60 million).