January 2, 2017 / 8:22 AM / a year ago

Sri Lankan rupee weaker; stocks down

COLOMBO, Jan 2 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee eased slightly in its first session of the year on Monday as a lack of inflows weighed on sentiment, dealers said.

The currency fell 3.9 percent in 2016.

Rupee forwards were active, with one-month forwards slightly weaker at 150.95/151.00 per dollar at 0804 GMT compared with Friday’s close of 150.75/85.

One-week forwards traded at 150.15/25 per dollar while spot-next forwards and the spot rupee were hardly traded, dealers said.

“Rupee is under pressure and it will continue to slide if we don’t see steady inflows,” said a currency dealer, asking not to be named.

On Friday, the central bank raised the spot currency reference rate to 150.00, a record low against the dollar. The banking regulator has raised the spot reference rate by a total 50 cents last week. That followed a 40-cent increase in the rate in each of the previous two weeks amid sustained pressure on the currency.

Officials from the central bank were not immediately available for comment.

The central bank kept its benchmark interest rates steady on Friday for a fifth straight month as expected, saying credit growth was responding to earlier tightening measures.

Dealers said the market was bracing for some depreciation in the rupee in January after the central bank said depreciation of the currency was not necessarily negative for the economy.

Sri Lankan shares were down 0.5 percent at 6,197.41 as of 0806 GMT. Turnover stood at 306.4 million rupees ($2.05 million).

$1 = 149.5000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil Nair

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