COLOMBO, March 31 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee traded stronger on Friday helped by inward remittances and selling of the greenback by exporters ahead of the festival season, dealers said.
Rupee forwards were active, with two-week forwards trading at 152.35/55 per dollar at 0615 GMT compared to Thursday's close of 152.55/65.
"There are lot of conversions by exporters ... may be to pay the salaries and bonuses. The (inward) remittance flow is also high," said a currency dealer who did not wish to be named.
The rupee has been under pressure due to dollar demand to meet increased seasonal imports ahead of the traditional new year that is celebrated on April 13-14, dealers said.
The central bank on Monday raised the spot rupee reference rate by 10 cents to 151.70. It had raised the reference rate by 25 cents on March 20.
The central bank raised interest rates for the first time in eight months on March 24, saying tighter policy was a precaution against a build-up of inflationary pressures.
Analysts said the rate hike, a move that was also aimed at easing pressure on the rupee, could help stabilise the domestic currency that has been hurt by rising imports and outflows due to rupee bond sales by foreign investors.
Foreign investors net bought government securities worth 70 million rupees ($461,285) in the week ended March 22, but they have net sold 63.2 billion rupees of such instruments so far this year.
Sri Lankan shares were up 0.4 percent at 6,064.61 as of 0617 GMT. Turnover stood at 1.07 billion rupees ($7.05 million). ($1 = 151.7000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan)