August 10, 2018 / 11:56 AM / 10 months ago

Sri Lankan rupee skids in line with other emerging-market currencies

COLOMBO, Aug 10 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee edged down on Friday, in line with other emerging-market currencies, mainly due to global concerns, dealers said.

The rupee, which hit an intraday low of 160.10 per dollar, ended at 160.00/10, compared with Thursday’s close of 159.95/160.10. It hit a record low of 160.17 on June 20 and has declined 4.2 percent so far this year.

“This is in line with other emerging-market currencies which came under severe pressure on global and geo-political concerns. This is nothing to do with domestic concerns,” a currency dealer said.

“Until the pressure on emerging-market currencies eases, the downward pressure on the rupee is going to remain.”

Turkey’s lira plunged as much as 14 percent on the back of a deepening rift with the United States, worries about its own economy and lack of action from policymakers.

On Aug. 3, the Sri Lankan central bank left its key policy rates unchanged, saying the decision backed its goals for stabilising inflation and fostering sustainable economic growth.

Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy had told reporters that several emerging market currencies had declined more than the rupee, adding “if we reduce rates that would put further pressure on the exchange rate.”

Sri Lanka last week raised import duties on small hybrid cars by more than 50 percent to boost revenue and curb a sharp fall in the rupee.

Coomaraswamy had said earlier that the rupee’s decline was driven mainly by external factors.

Foreign investors sold government securities worth a net 2.56 billion rupees ($16.02 million) in the week ended Aug. 8, bringing the outflow so far this year to 39.1 billion rupees, central bank data showed. ($1 = 159.8500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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