COLOMBO, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee closed steady on Thursday despite sustained importer dollar demand as moral suasion by the central bank averted a further decline, forcing banks to trade in currency forwards, dealers said.
Dealers said moral suasion by the central bank prevented trades above 130.28 while one of the two state banks through which the central bank usually intervenes in the foreign exchange market sold dollars at 130.28 to select banks in early trade.
The three-day forwards, or spot next, closed at 130.34/36 per dollar, up slightly from Wednesday's close of 130.36.
The spot currency ended the day at 130.28/32 to a dollar, unchanged from Wednesday's closing level.
"The central bank did not allow any trade beyond 130.28 and that compelled banks and dealers to trade in forwards," said a currency dealer asking not to be named.
"Imports are picking up and we saw a state bank also buying dollars at 130.28 rupees later in the day. We don't see rupee gaining from this level due to importer demand."
Central bank officials were not available for comment. (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)