February 8, 2018 / 12:14 PM / 10 months ago

Sri Lankan rupee ends firmer on exporter dollar sales

COLOMBO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee ended firmer for a second straight session on Thursday, further recovering from a record closing low hit earlier this week, as some exporters sold dollars, dealers said.

The rupee hit an all-time closing low of 154.60/70 per dollar on Tuesday, hurt by dollar demand from banks and importers.

The spot rupee ended at 154.35/45 per dollar on Thursday with compared with Wednesday’s close of 154.55/65.

“Today, there was selling (of dollars) by exporters and some banks as the rupee was near a record low,” said a currency dealer.

Dealers said they expect the currency to be under pressure due to continued importer dollar demand.

They expect a 2-3 percent depreciation in the rupee and higher volatility this year on account of debt repayment by the government.

President Maithripala Sirisena’s administration must repay an estimated 1.97 trillion rupees ($12.85 billion) in 2018 - a record high - including $2.9 billion of foreign loans and a total of $5.36 billion in interest.

Foreign investors bought 5.9 billion rupees worth of government securities this year up to Jan. 30, central bank data showed.

The rupee fell 2.5 percent last year and 3.9 percent in 2016. (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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