COLOMBO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee closed steady for a third straight session on Monday as dollar demand from importers offset exporter sales of the U.S. currency in the absence of central bank intervention, dealers said.
However, dealers expect the currency to be under downward pressure due to seasonal importer dollar demand until mid December.
The spot rupee finished steady at 146.90/95 per dollar.
"The currency will be under downward pressure due to seasonal imports until mid-December, and then we might see it settling with exporter sales and remittances," a currency dealer said, asking not to be named.
Another dealer said the rupee forwards were traded in thin volumes in the latter part of the day.
The spot rupee is usually managed by the central bank, and market participants use the forward market levels for guidance on the currency.
The spot rupee was steady last week after two weeks of losses.
The central bank has been buying dollars from the market to accumulate reserves to meet targets set by the International Monetary Fund under a $1.5-billion loan deal, dealers said.
Officials at the central bank were not available for comment.
$1 = 146.3700 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri