COLOMBO, March 29 The Sri Lankan rupee edged up
on Wednesday due to exporter dollar sales, but importer demand
for the U.S. currency from a state bank weighed on sentiment,
Rupee forwards were active, with two-week forwards
trading at 152.65/80 per dollar at 0515 GMT, compared with
Tuesday's close of 152.70/80.
"Today the rupee is trading slightly firmer due to the lack
of large importer demand. Other than the state bank's demand for
dollar, we have not seen large bills in the market," said a
currency dealer, requesting anonymity.
The rupee is under pressure due to dollar demand to meet
increased seasonal imports and payments by oil importers,
The central bank on Monday raised the spot rupee
reference rate by 10 cents to 151.70 after the bank raised the
it by 25 cents on March 20.
On Friday, the central bank raised interest rates for the
first time in eight months, saying tighter policy was a
precaution against a build-up of inflationary pressures.
Analysts said the rate hike, a move aimed at easing pressure
on the rupee, could help stabilise the domestic currency that is
hurt by rising imports and outflows due to rupee bond sales by
Foreign investors net bought government securities worth 70
million rupees ($461,285) in the week ended March 22. They have
net sold 63.2 billion rupees of such instruments so far this
Sri Lankan shares were up 0.8 percent at 6,033.1 as
of 0541 GMT. Turnover stood at 114.7 million Sri Lankan rupees
($1 = 151.7000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sherry