June 19, 2017 / 11:27 AM / 9 months ago

Sri Lankan rupee ends weaker; spot trading resumes after 6 weeks

COLOMBO, June 19 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee ended weaker on Monday as dollar demand from importers weighed on the spot currency when it resumed trading after six weeks, dealers said.

The spot rupee ended at 153.18/23 after it began trading for the first time since May 5 when the central bank had fixed the spot reference rate at 152.50.

In the absence of active spot trade since then, rupee forwards have been active.

“The spot rupee started trading today after a long time, I think the central bank decided to let it go,” said a currency dealer, requesting anonymity.

Another dealer confirmed the spot trade, saying there was no intervention by the central bank.

The banking regulator is not expected to intervene in the market, dealers said, due to a mid-year foreign exchange reserves target and seasonal demand for dollars, expected from August.

Central bank officials were not available for comment.

The central bank has set a target of $1.2 billion in direct market purchases of dollars to boost the island nation’s reserves this year, mainly to achieve a target set by the International Monetary Fund in return for a three-year $1.5 billion loan.

Foreign investors bought a net 7.93 billion rupees ($51.8 million) worth of government securities in the week ended June 14. They have sold a net 32.03 billion rupees worth of government bonds so far this year. ($1 = 153.0500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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