COLOMBO May 26 The Sri Lankan rupee rose
slightly on Friday as dollar selling by banks surpassed importer
demand for the U.S. currency, traders said.
Rupee forwards were active, with spot-next forwards
at 152.80/90 per dollar, compared with Thursday's close of
One-week forwards were at 153.05/15, compared with the
previous close of 153.10/20.
Some local banks seek dollars, said a currency dealer,
adding that foreign banks were also selling the U.S. currency,
maybe due to inflows into the stock market and unwinding of some
of their dollar positions.
Dealers said the rupee is also under pressure after the
central bank governor said last week that the bank will allow
gradual depreciation of the currency.
Sri Lanka's central bank has purchased around $400 million
directly from the market so far this year, Governor Indrajit
Coomaraswamy said last week, adding it was targeting $1.2
billion in direct market purchases of dollars to boost the
island nation's reserves this year.
Dealers said the central bank's plan will keep the rupee
under pressure, with the market expecting about 4-6 percent
depreciation in the currency this year.
The spot rupee did not trade on Friday.
The central bank fixed the spot rupee reference rate at
152.50 on May 5.
The central bank has allowed the currency to gradually
depreciate since mid-December, revising its spot reference rate
Sri Lankan shares were down 0.15 percent at 6,705.21,
as of 0636 GMT. Turnover stood at 103.9 million rupees
($1 = 152.3500 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)