Sri Lankan rupee steady; exporter dollar sales offset importer demand

July 26, 2016 (Reuters) – The Sri Lankan rupee traded steady on Tuesday in dull trade as importer demand for the dollar was offset by greenback selling by exporters, dealers said.

One-week rupee forwards, which have been acting as a proxy for the spot rupee, were steady at 146.20/35 per dollar compared with Monday’s close of 146.20/40.

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

“We saw some dollar selling in the market today. The demand (for dollar) is also there, and the exporter dollar sales is normal,” said a currency dealer, asking not to be named.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake on July 12 said the rupee would “obviously appreciate” on inflows from the country’s first sale of dual-tranche eurobonds, while the Central Bank Deputy Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said last week that the $1.5 billion raised from the bond sale had been absorbed into foreign reserves.

The spot rupee was not traded on Tuesday.

Spot-next, which are rupee forwards settled three days after the spot rupee settlement, were traded steady at 145.95/146.05 per dollar, compared with Monday’s close.

The Sri Lankan stock index was down 0.03 percent at 6,395.38 as of 0755 GMT, on a turnover of 185.1 million rupees ($1.27 million).