COLOMBO, March 20 The Sri Lankan rupee closed
slightly higher on Monday on dollar selling by banks late in the
day, while increased imports and selling of rupee bonds by
foreign investors weakened the outlook for the currency, dealers
Rupee forwards were active, with two-week forwards
closing at 152.40/60 per dollar, compared with Friday's close of
"Couple of banks were on the selling side at the latter part
of the day; maybe some exporter flows and some of their own
inflows," said a currency dealer, asking not to be named.
The spot currency was quoted at 151.75/152.40 per dollar,
but was not traded.
The country's central bank raised the spot rupee reference
rate by 25 cents to 151.60 on Monday, dealers said. It has been
been preventing spot rupee trades below 151.35 per
dollar since March 8, dealers said.
Central bank officials were not available for comment.
Foreign investors net sold government securities worth 1.41
billion rupees ($9.28 million) in the week ended March 15, after
two weeks of net inflows.
They have net sold 63.3 billion rupees of such instruments
so far this year.
The rupee has fallen 1.59 percent so far this year, and
dealers say they expect the currency to weaken 6-8 percent in
2017. It lost 3.9 percent against the dollar last year.
($1 = 151.9800 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju