Sri Lankan rupee trades firm on bank, exporter dollar sales

COLOMBO, Nov 10 (Reuters) – The Sri Lankan rupee traded slightly firmer on Thursday as dollar selling by exporters and banks outpaced demand for the greenback from importers ahead of the national budget, dealers said.

Rupee forwards were active, with spot-next forwards trading at 147.75/148.00 per dollar at 0600 GMT compared with Wednesday’s close of 147.90/95.

One-week forwards were trading at 148.00 per dollar, little changed from Wednesday’s close of 148.05/15.

“Banks are selling, partly for exporters and some banks are selling as they are expecting rupee to ease” due to remittances after the budget, a currency dealer said asking not to be named.

Dealers expect downward pressure on the rupee to ease after the national budget is presented later on Thursday and due to a pickup in year-end remittances.

Selling of government securities by foreign investors has also hit the rupee, dealers said.

Foreign investors 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.

Sri Lankan shares were marginally higher, with the benchmark Colombo stock index up 0.05 percent at 6,420.46 as of 0602 GMT. Turnover stood at 103.7 million rupees ($701,861.25). ($1 = 147.7500 Sri Lankan rupees)