Sri Lanka rupee falls as state bank lowers exchange rate

(Reuters) – The Sri Lankan rupee was trading weaker on Monday after a state-owned bank pegged its exchange rate to the dollar at 133.80, 20 cents lower than its previous close, dealers said, the first fall in seven sessions for the spot currency.

The state-run bank had since July 2 sold dollars at 133.60 until Friday to keep the currency stable.

"The state bank is selling at 133.80," a currency dealer said. "There is importer demand because it is the first day after the weekend."

The currency has appreciated 0.3 percent through Monday since it hit a record low of 134.20 against the dollar on June 18.

The central bank may not be able to sustain the rupee’s appreciation trend as import demand could pick up due to lower interest rates, dealers and analysts said.

The pressure on the currency could also build if exporters stop selling dollars until after the Aug. 17 parliamentary elections, dealers said.

In the stock market, the benchmark index was up 0.47 percent at 7,016.75 as of 0626 GMT, at a one-week high. Turnover stood at 182.1 million rupees ($1.36 million)

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