January 25, 2018 / 11:57 AM / a month ago

Sri Lankan rupee firmer on bank, exporter dollar sales

COLOMBO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee ended firmer on Thursday, further moving away from a record low hit earlier this week, as banks and exporters sold dollars, dealers said.

The spot rupee ended at 153.70/80 per dollar, compared with Wednesday’s close of 153.75/85.

On Tuesday, the rupee hit a record intraday low of 154.20/25 per dollar.

“There were some exporter (dollar) sales and inward remittances,” said a currency dealer.

“There could be 2-3 percent depreciation this year.”

The rupee might see volatility due to heavy debt repayment by the government this year, said dealers.

Sri Lanka raised $470.6 million last week via development bonds, the central bank said.

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 2.1 billion rupees worth of government securities this year up to Jan. 18, 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 Subhranshu Sahu)

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