July 3, 2017 / 6:37 AM / 5 months ago

Sri Lanka rupee edges up as exporters, banks sell dollars

COLOMBO, July 3 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee traded marginally higher on Monday as dollar sales by exporters and banks surpassed importer greenback demand, dealers said.

Expectations of a rise in imports weighed on the local currency, they added.

The spot rupee, which traded for a tenth straight session after being inactive for six weeks, was traded at 153.50/60 per dollar at 0559 GMT, tad firmer from Friday’s close of 153.55/65.

The spot rupee resumed trading on June 19 for the first time since May 5 when the central bank fixed its reference rate at 152.50.

“The rupee seems to be settling down at this level. There was trading in both buy and sell side,” said a currency dealer, requesting anonymity.

“But the market is quiet and trading is thin.”

Dealers said they expected seasonal demand for the dollar to pick up from August.

Rupee has been under pressure since early this year after the central bank stopped defending the currency at a time when the island nation faces a balance of payments crisis.

The central bank is also compelled to buy dollars from the market to meet the reserve target set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under a $1.5 billion, three-year loan programme.

Sri Lankan shares were down 0.14 percent at 6,737.08, as of 0611 GMT. Turnover stood at 475.9 million rupees ($3.10 million). ($1 = 153.3000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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