August 1, 2018 / 12:08 PM / a year ago

Sri Lankan rupee ends marginally firmer in dull trade

COLOMBO, Aug 1 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee ended marginally firmer in dull trade on Wednesday as selling off dollars by banks surpassed mild demand for greenbacks from importers, traders said.

The rupee, which traded at 159.75 rupees per dollar during the day, ended firmer at 159.55/65 per dollar compared with Tuesday’s close of 159.65/75. It has declined 3.9 percent so far this year and had hit a record low of 160.17 on June 20.

“Trading was very dull today and there was not much of importer demand after the vehicle import tax hike,” said a currency dealer asking not to be named.

The finance ministry on Wednesday imposed a minimum duty of 1.25 million Sri Lankan rupees on any hybrid car with an engine capacity of less than 1,000 cubic centimetres.

Sri Lanka’s central bank governor, Indrajit Coomaraswamy, had said earlier that the rupee’s decline was driven mainly by factors outside of Sri Lanka and that emerging-market currencies were under pressure.

Foreign investors sold government securities worth a net 4.6 billion rupees ($28.83 million) in the week ended July 25, bringing the outflows so far this year to 36.2 billion rupees, central bank data showed. ($1 = 159.5500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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