June 21, 2017 / 7:31 AM / in 6 months

Sri Lankan rupee steady; importer dollar demand weighs

COLOMBO, June 21 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee traded steady on Wednesday as exporter dollar sales offset the demand for greenback.

The demand for dollars from importers however weighed on the spot currency, which traded for a third straight session after being inactive for six weeks.

The spot rupee started trading on Monday for the first time since May 5 when the central bank fixed the spot reference rate at 152.50.

The spot rupee was trading at 153.30/40 per dollar at 0657 GMT, steady from Tuesday’s close.

“The demand is there but today there is some selling as well,” said a currency dealer, requesting anonymity.

Dealers said they expect seasonal demand for dollars to pick up from August.

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.

Sri Lankan shares were up 0.32 percent at 6,726.91, as of 0706 GMT. Turnover stood at 608.6 million rupees ($3.97 million). ($1 = 153.2500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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