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Sri Lanka rupee steady on intervention

(Reuters) – The Sri Lankan rupee traded steady on Wednesday in dull trade as a state-owned bank maintained its dollar selling rate at 133.80 amid demand for the greenback from importers, dealers said.

The rupee fell for the first time in seven sessions on Monday after the state-run bank raised the dollar-selling rate by 0.15 percent to 133.80 from 133.60.

"Exporters are not selling dollars and there is importer demand," a currency dealer said.

The rupee is under pressure as more than 80 billion rupees ($598 million) worth of government securities would mature this week and some foreign investors may exit from treasury bonds, another dealer said, asking not to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media.

Two other dealers confirmed the maturity amount.

Dealers and analysts said 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, while foreign investors continue to sell government securities.

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 0.18 percent at 7,039.47 as of 0542 GMT, hovering at a more than two-week high. Turnover was 194.60 million rupees.

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