COLOMBO, April 1 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee ended steady on Tuesday for a fifth straight session despite importer dollar demand, as banks were reluctant to trade the local currency beyond 130.70 per dollar due to moral suasion by the central bank, dealers said.
However, dealers said the currency is likely to gain due to expected inflows from remittances in early April.
The spot rupee ended steady for the fifth straight session at 130.70/75 per dollar.
The rupee forwards were weaker at 130.73/76 per dollar, compared with Tuesday's close of 130.73/75. But the pressure on the forwards is expected to ease due to remittances, exporter and bank dollar sales ahead of the festive season, dealers said.
Dealers said the central bank had asked banks to keep the rupee at the 130.70-per-dollar level to reduce volatility
On Monday, Nandalal Weerasinghe, one of the central bank's deputy governors, told Reuters that the central bank has not changed its policy of not targeting any specific rate but moral suasion is one of the instruments many central banks use to manage short-term volatility.
Dealers expect the rupee to appreciate from early April, with a dip in importer dollar demand and a rise in inward remittances before the traditional Sinhala-Tamil new year.
Central bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said on March 19 that the rupee would be stable throughout this year due to increasing inflows from exports and remittances.
Dealers said lack of credit demand for imports will help reduce downward pressure on the rupee.
The currency gained 0.25 percent since Feb. 27, but has fallen 0.08 percent so far this year, Thomson Reuters data showed. (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Anand Basu)